New crack pipe vending machines in Vancouver aim to curb spread of disease

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Kailin See, director of the Drug Users Resource Center, stands next to the newly added crack pipe vending machine.(PORTLAND HOTEL SOCIETY)



In an attempt to prevent the spread of disease, a Canadian non-profit installed the country’s first-ever crack pipe vending machines in Vancouver, CTV reported.

With the vending machines, drug users can purchase as many Pyrex crack pipes as they need for $0.25 each – a measure experts hope will curb rates of diseases spread by shared drug paraphernalia.

The two vending machines were installed by the non-profit Portland Hotel Society’s Drug Users Resource Center (DURC) in Vancouver’s Washington Market.

“Various studies show a correlation between HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases with crack pipe use.  People can have sores on their lips, and [get diseases] from cracked or broken pipes,” Mark Townsend, an addictions worker with the Portland Hotel Society, told

Townsend said that although PHS would rather crack users choose to detox or go to rehab, they also want to provide users with clean equipment, so they don’t get sick or potentially die. The machines, which are covered in colorful polka dots, are meant to create a conversation about the positive benefits of harm reduction.

“A hepatitis C infection can cost [the health care system] anywhere from $200,000 to $1.4 million; that’s a lot of money a 25-cent crack pipe can mitigate,” Townsend said.

While the Canadian federal government has resisted harm reduction methods like this one in the past, the vending machines were allowed under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Click for more from CTV.


  • MyTakeOnIt

    Nice. Ranks up there with condom machines in elementary schools and heroin needle exchange programs. Who says cigarette vending machines or beer vending machines are taboo? Someone needs to get wise and put the heroin and crack in the vending machines so that we can be sure they are not getting poison-laced versions. Don't forget to put marijuana in the vending machines in WA & CO, too.

  • montz1969

    How will this stop the spread of disease? As a former user and recovering addict smoking crack only leads to harder drugs. I have been there and seen many people do the same. Having a machine easily accessible to user to get their crack pipe only enables the addiction and pushes them to harder drugs.
    Machine or not a crack addict will make a pipe out of anything they can find. Placing machines like these in public view is nothing more than a circus event as bystanders can sit around watching who comes to buy the pipes.

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