Newsbrief: Group Hands Out Free Crack Pipes in Vancouver Harm Reduction Action 11/5/04

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A group representing Vancouver's hard drug users has opened a new front in the effort to reduce drug-related harms. VANDU, the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users ( began distributing hundreds of free crack pipes to smokers in the city's Downtown Eastside over the weekend in a move the group said would slow the spread of disease among rock aficionados.

The group handed out over 500 "crack kits" Friday night alone, VANDU president Rob Morgan told the Vancouver Sun. Each kit contains a glass pipe, mouth pieces, condoms, alcohol swabs, matches, and an instruction pamphlet. The action is a project of VANDU's crack-smoking affiliate, the Rock Users' Group. "In the same way as handing out needles, these kits advance harm reduction and prevent the spread of HIV and hepatitis C," said Morgan, who told the Sun he is himself strung out on crack. Morgan said money for the kits came from private organizations and street donations, but the group will ask the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority for additional funding.

But while the Authority supports needle exchange programs and the Downtown Eastside safe injection site, it has so far refused to either support the crack kits or allow the creation of a safe smoking area for crack users. The kits are not proven effective in harm reduction, the Authority maintained, and there is no legal provision for establishing a safe smoking room.

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Issue #361, 11/5/04 Editorial: Ironic Hypocrisy | Big Win in Big Sky Country: Montana Approves Medical Marijuana | Alaska Marijuana Initiative Defeated | Oregon Measure to Expand Medical Marijuana Access Defeated | More Than a Thousand Drug Offenders Continue Doing Life Sentences Following Defeat of California Three-Strikes Reform Initiative | Local Marijuana Initiatives and Questions Win in Ann Arbor, Columbia, Oakland and Massachusetts | Newsbrief: Victory for Rockefeller Law Foe in Albany DA Race | Newsbrief: Another Tulia in East Texas? | Newsbrief: South Carolina Jury Refuses to Send Opium Smoker to Prison for Decades, Acquits Him of Trafficking Instead | Newsbrief: Dr. Hurwitz Trial Underway, Key Pain Doctor Prosecution | Newsbrief: Group Hands Out Free Crack Pipes in Vancouver Harm Reduction Action | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | This Week in History | The DARE Generation Returns to DC: Students for Sensible Drug Policy 2004 National Conference Next Month | Apply Now to Intern at DRCNet! | Seeking Information, Affiliations, Link Exchanges | The Reformer's Calendar

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