Drug addicts in a crime-ridden Canadian neighbourhood are being given free crack pipes, it has emerged.
The handouts are part of a ‘harm reduction strategy’ aimed at curbing the spread of disease in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Among the items distributed are heat-resistant and shatterproof glass pipes, which experts say should reduce injury to the users’ lips and mouth.
These are wounds that can make addicts more susceptible to diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C.
The $60,000 trial project was first announced in August, and the pipes are just one piece of drug paraphernalia that have been distributed since the start of December.
Also included in drug packs given out are mouthpieces, filters, alcohol swabs, screens and push sticks.
Vancouver Coastal Health Authority spokeswoman Trudi Beutel said while harm reduction tools such as these have been made available to addicts in the past, this marks the first time that they have been combined in a single kit.
In total, 60,000 kits are expected to be distributed at five locations during an eight-month trial period.
‘What this boils down to is it’s about disease prevention,’ Ms Beutel told the National Post.