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Canada cracks down on pipe-sharing

August 3, 2011

Canadian officials are launching a controversial new program in Vancouver later this year that will distribute clean, unused crack pipes to users, much like needle-exchange programs that already exist in cities worldwide. Needle-sharing is more commonly associated with diseases than crack pipes, but many studies have uncovered evidence which suggests that crack cocaine use may increase the risk of contracting diseases such as HIV and hepatitis, CBC News reports.

Researchers at the University of Victoria recently reported that as many as two-thirds of crack users in Vancouver and Victoria admitted to sharing pipes. The hope is that this program will be a way to reach out to habitual users and assist them in overcoming their addictions.

"We want to do this in a way that we can evaluate this, because there's a couple of questions I hope we can answer," Dr. Patricia Daly, the medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, told CBC News. "We can use this as an engagement strategy like we do with our other harm-reduction initiatives."

People who are interested in this new development can use international phone cards to call their friends and family and talk about the program.

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