Postmedia News Dec 30, 2011 – 4:05 PM ET | Last Updated: Jan 1, 2012 1:00 PM ET
Jenelle Schneider / Postmedia News
Hugh Lampkin, president of the Vancouver Area of Network Drug Users, shows one of 60,000 crack smoking kits that will be distributed at five sites throughout Vancouver's Downtown Eastside to help reduce the spread of disease.
By Cassidy Olivier
VANCOUVER — Crack addicts in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside have started receiving free crack pipes as part of a Vancouver Coastal Health Authority harm reduction strategy aimed at curbing the spread of disease.
Part of a $60,000 trial project first announced in August, the pipes are just one piece of drug paraphernalia found inside kits that have been distributed to users in the troubled neighbourhood since the beginning of the month.
The glass pipes are heat-resistant and shatterproof, which experts say should reduce injury to the users’ lips and mouth — wounds that can make them more susceptible to diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C.
Also included are mouthpieces, filters, alcohol swabs, screens and push sticks.
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, said Trudi Beutel, a spokesperson for the health authority.