San Francisco May Hand Out Free Crack Pipes

“It may seem counter intuitive, but it’s a great program.”


Forget wearing a flower in your hair, just bring your crack to San Francisco... where the crack pipes may be free.

Crack pipe distribution programs have been successful in Canada, said Laura Thomas, a member of the HIV Prevention Planning Council (HPPC), the group that recently suggested San Francisco consider a similar program.

Why give out free crack pipes? Unlike used needles, which pierce the skin and can immediately infect someone who shares it, the sharing of crack pipes doesn’t have that same likelihood of physical contamination of HIV.

Instead, officials said, the main focus of this program would be as an outreach effort. Crack users are a population identified as at major risk to have HIV and they often become disconnected from medical services and stop taking their medicine.

“It may seem counter intuitive, but it’s a great program,” said Thomas.  “Once you can bring people into your program, make them feel respected, taken care of, then they’re more likely to come back and get on HIV meds and want to be engaged and taking care of their health.”

So you provide outreach by handing out free crack pipes and asking the poor souls to take their HIV meds along with their crack.

And crack users are notorious for 1. being engaged and 2. taking care of their health

After this story went viral on Drudge, San Francisco politicians seemed less eager to jump on board the free crack pipe express.

Mayor Ed Lee was first with a statement, via an email from his spokesperson, Christine Falvey: “Mayor Lee is not aware of this exploration and is not supportive. There are many other HIV interventions that could and should be explored before ever considering this.”

Barbara Garcia, Director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, elaborated in a phone call to KPIX 5.

“I would say ‘absolutely no, we are not going to distribute crack pipes.’ We have a lot of things to consider for those who are using crack for improving their health. And the distribution of crack pipes is not something I’m going to consider.”

So the free meth lab is also off the table.

Harmeet K. Dhillon, chair of the San Francisco Republican Party, voiced disapproval of the recommendation.

“Continuing the theme of San Francisco being the Utopian petri dish of America, this is the utmost of San Francisco absurdity,” Dhillon said. "There is zero evidence showing that handing out ‘clean’ crack pipes to addicts will do anything to prevent the spread of HIV and other diseases, and this just sounds like another pathetic idea to entertain viewers of ‘The Daily Show.'"

Crack does steal fewer IQ points than the Daily Show.