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Crack pipe vending machines in use in Vancouver, B.C.

Feb. 10, 2014 at 2:16 PM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Crack pipes are available for 25 cents in vending machines placed in a troubled neighborhood of Vancouver, B.C., a drug support group director said Monday.

Kaitlin See, director of the Portland Hotel Society's Drug Users Resource Center, said the glass pipes are durable and less likely to chip and cut the mouths of users, stopping the spread of communicable diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C, CTV reported.

The Resource Center operates two vending machines in what is considered Canada's poorest postal code.

"For us, this was about increasing access to safer inhalation supplies in the Downtown Eastside (section of the city)," See was quoted as saying.

See said the vending machines are maintained by InSite, North America's only medically-supervised drug injection site.

"This is one piece of the larger puzzle," See said of the InSite's vending machines. "You have to have treatment, you have to have detox, you have to have safe spaces to use your drug of choice and you have to have safe and clean supplies."

Canadian Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney said Saturday he disagrees with the initiative. He said he supports treatment that ends drug use, including the limiting of drug paraphernalia, CTV reported.

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