The mass distribution of 65,000 crack cocaine smoking kits in the Downtown Eastside did not trigger more drug activity but reduced burns to crack smokers and decreased the reliance on used smoking equipment.
That’s the conclusion of Vancouver Coastal Health chief medical health officer Dr. Patricia Daly as she examined the results of a 13-month evaluation of 4,213 crack smokers.
“Their behaviour indicates that they’re involved in less high-risk behaviour and that might reduce some of their infection risks associated with crack smoking,” said Daly of the health agency’s evaluation released last week.
The project cost $118,000, with $43,000 spent on supplies, $35,000 on “peer support and education” and $25,000 on putting the kits together. An additional $15,000 was spent on the evaluation, which Vancouver Coastal Health did with the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C.
The evaluation period ran from December 2011 to November 2012 and had various organizations, including community health clinics and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, assemble and distribute 65,299 sterile kits that included glass stems, pipe screens, mouthpieces and alcohol swabs.
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