Welcome to Seattle! Want a Crack Pipe?

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Next up? Seattle starts program providing medical marijuana to "sick" woodland creatures.

When I logged on to Twitter today, several friends sent me messages asking if I’d gotten my free crack pipe yet. I thought to myself, well maybe you don’t like my Libertarian-leaning stance on gay marriage, but that’s no reason to get nasty!

Of course, they weren’t referencing my stance on any issue, but rather my geographical location: Seattle.

For twenty years now, Seattle has been home to a controversial needle exchange program, where intravenous drug users can get clean needles for free. This program is ostensibly designed to cut down on the spread of AIDS among junkies.

Know what else cuts down on the spread of AIDS via shooting junk? Not shooting junk! A radical (and probably somehow racist) notion, I know.

The needle exchange has branched out. Now, thanks to a vote by “The Legislature” (which one wasn’t specified), the needle exchange can hand out a drug that counters the effect of a heroin overdose, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in an article posted Friday.

“Our program is primarily an HIV prevention program,” said Michael Hanrahan, manager of education and prevention services of the HIV/STD program with Public Health — Seattle & King County. The agency, which runs four exchange programs, has watched the demand for clean needles surge from 1.8 million in 2006 to nearly 3.4 million last year.

Clearly, the exchange is working! Intravenous drug use is up almost 100% and that’s GR…oh, wait. That sucks, actually.

Now, this wonderful program is going to hand out crack pipes and kits, to help prevent the spread of hepatitis, etc.


It’s so nice Seattle provides a safe place for junkies to … coagulate. Not only are we a Shelter City for illegal immigrants, we’re junkie friendly! Yay, Seattle!

Perhaps the exchange will branch out further and start providing sex offenders with free condoms to help thwart pesky rape investigations.

We believe all drug users should have the right to not get diseases and have the ability to prevent diseases.

Nifty. And I believe I should have the right to photograph everyone getting free “kits” and Naloxone from the needle exchange and turn them into the police. Because you know what right I have? The right to not be accosted by diseased drug users.

The needle exchanges in Seattle are largely funded by donations, which is good. But once an addict decides to clean up, he or she will transfer to the state’s methadone treatment centers, which are probably taxpayer funded. And then the poor, hapless junkie will go on public assistance.

Gee, and people involved in drug deals are often prone to being victims of violent crime. I wonder when the needle exchange will think of that, and finally start handing out narcotics.

Here’s a tip on how to avoid 100% of drug related diseases. DON’T DO DRUGS!

That’s free advice, folks. Though, maybe I should start a government sponsored clinic and start charging Medicare for giving it out.

7 Responses to “Welcome to Seattle! Want a Crack Pipe?”
  1. DCG says:

    Drug users should have a right to not get diseases? How about drug users should be responsible for their actions? What ever happened to personal responsibilty for YOUR choices? That’s all the questions I got right now…

  2. Joseph Veca says:

    Well, it is nice to know that occasionally Seattle still out does California in the La La Land department.

  3. Pat says:

    I can understand your frustration, but you’re making far, far too many assumption that aren’t grounded in truth. A doubling of syringes distributed does not mean a doubling of injections, it means twice as many injections that aren’t going to spread HIV or Hep C. The epidemiologic literature is clear, syringe exchange has no effect on injection frequency. It’s about protecting the community. You may not know anybody who is an injection drug user (or don’t know that they are) but what are the odds you don’t know somebody who has slept with an injection drug user? 75% of all HIV cases in the US have injection drug use somewhere in their transmission line. If nobody had ever shared a syringe, there would be 75% fewer HIV cases. You’re not protecting the drug users with syringe exchange, you’re protecting everybody else.

    • ChrisIsRIGHT says:

      You’re going to have to prove that. The CDC seems to disagree with your assertion regarding HIV transmission lines or, at least, completely fails to back it up. ( http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/basic.htm#exposure )

      In fact, the CDC claims IDU accounts for 36% of HIV cases, directly or indirectly. ( http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/idu.htm )

      Here are some statistics on HIV/AIDS infection in King County ( http://www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/communicable/hiv/epi/statistics.aspx )

      According to this study, Heroin use in Seattle and King County is up dramatically over the last decade ( http://depts.washington.edu/adai/pubs/tr/cewg/CEWG_Seattle_June2010.pdf )

      You make contradictory statements. If (and it does seem to be the case) syringe exchange has no effect on injection frequency, and if there are now way more syringes being exchanged, it stands to reason there are now more people using those exchanges, yes?

      While I’m glad the needle exchange protects the community, it – like many liberally minded programs – is running amok. There is not one recorded case of a broken crack pipe causing the transmission of HIV. And yet, we’re going to hand out crack pipes to prevent… HIV transmission.

      As you assert, if nobody ever shared a syringe, there would be fewer HIV cases. Your numbers are way off, but the basic premise is true. My assertion is also true. Not shooting drugs would also have the same effect.

      Know what else would help? Sealing the border between the US and Mexico. A friend who works in the drug policy arena claims legalization is the answer to solving the drug crisis. She also claims the drug problem across the US-Mexican border is marijuana specific. She’s 100% wrong. According to this report, 100% of heroin buys by DEA agents in WA proved that the drugs were Mexican in origin (
      http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/statelocal/wa/waseattl.pdf )

      While I agree that the needle exchange programs have helped cut down on HIV/AIDS and hepatitis transmission, Seattle is widely known for its permissive drug policies and people do come here to take advantage of that. Don’t believe me? Read this forum ( http://forum.opiophile.org/showthread.php?t=9381 )

      Eternal permissiveness and tolerance does not solve “the problem” any more than the war on drugs has. So we have fewer IDU related HIV infections. Great. Seriously. That’s great. We now have more drugs users. A drug trade fueled by a tolerant policy on illegal immigration and lots of drug related crime.

      The fact the needle exchanges now want to start distributing crack pipes for a problem they admit does not exist in the first place indicates to me they are following in the footsteps of the ACLU. They are pushing for legalization of drugs. When more people start smoking crack, and HIV cases start increasing (as all studies indicate… where drugs are involved, inhibitions and safe sex practices decrease), the needle exchange will be working against its stated goals.

      What else did I get wrong?

      • Pat says:

        I think you misunderstand what I was trying to say. The 75% figure is cumulative. 36% of HIV cases are from injection drug users or people who had sex with injection drug users. The 75% includes people who had sex with people who are injection drug users, children of people who had sex with people who had sex with injection drug users and so on and so forth. So 75% of people with HIV have an injection drug use transmission somewhere between them and HIV patient 0.

        It is not contradictory to say that syringe exchanges do not cause increase injection drug use. An increase in syringes exchanged is a combination of a) increased effectiveness of the exchange reaching injection drug users and b) an increase in injection drug use. While it is very likely true that injection drug use is up both in your area and nationally, it is impossible to determine that from numbers at a syringe exchange, since their numbers tend to be more a reflection on the effectiveness of the program reaching users than an increase from enrolled participants. The crux of it is that either way, the syringe exchange isn’t causing any injections that would not have otherwise occurred, which we seem to agree on. An increase in injection drug use means there is more of a need for syringe exchange, and you are fortunate in that your county seems to be well below the national average for HIV transmission due to injection drug use, There’s a decent chance that happens to be because there are syringe exchanges available.

        I have some concerns with your assertion that sealing the border with Mexico would help with the problem. Firstly, I do not think sealing the Mexican border is actually possible. Even if it is, there is more than enough profit involved that it is easily worth it for drugs to travel from Mexico to Canada then back into the US or to enter the US through the coast. Also, while it is true that most west coast heroin comes from Mexico, most east coast heroin comes from Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc… and I have a feeling that if Mexican heroin was unavailable, the Asian suppliers would find a way to fill the gap. It is kind of like playing whack-a-mole. I tend to agree with your friend that legalization is the only way to eliminate the crime involved with drugs, any other ethical and personal choice arguments aside. I’m afraid I cannot speak in an informed manner as to what drug causes the majority of the drug problem across the Mexican border, but I will readily concede that heroin likely is a significant part of it.

        Nobody claims that syringe exchanges are a solution to the drug problem. They’re a sensible public health measure to mitigate the damage from the drug problem. I have no idea if giving out crack pipes could prevent the spread of disease (I suspect preventing Hep. C is more likely than HIV, but there’s really no evidence either way on this), but it certainly doesn’t make things any worse. I really can’t imagine somebody saying “Hey, I was thinking about trying crack, maybe since they’re giving out the pipes, I’ll give it a whirl.”

        • ChrisIsRIGHT says:

          You keep making claims and not backing them up. Where is all this data you have to prove your assertions? The CDC, as I pointed out, says that 36% is due to IDU directly AND indirectly. If you have stats to prove your numbers, provide them.

          READ the info I posted, including following the links. If you have studies that contradict that information, and if those studies are from reputable sources, kindly link to them. Otherwise, I have to think you’re pulling information out of thin air.

          If there’s no evidence either way on the transmission of disease through crack pipes, then giving them away is useless, no?

          As to your assertion that legalizing drugs would eliminate the crime involved with drugs, that is not only absurd, it is demonstrably untrue. While repealing prohibition eliminated the crime of providing alcohol, can you say drunk driving, sexual assault where alcohol is involved, violent behavior caused by alcohol, etc., also went away? No, because they obviously haven’t.

          I’ve linked to a forum where opiate users admit to being drawn to Seattle precisely because of its liberal drug policies. If you don’t think permissive drug policies and increased drug use are linked, you’ve never been to Amsterdam.

          If you’re going to argue “facts,” then kindly present something to back them up. Otherwise, I think you’re just not telling the truth.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chris Barnhart, Jenn Q. Public and Kim Edwards, james smith. james smith said: Excellent! RT @ChrisBarnhart: [New Blog Post] – #tcot #tlot #WA #Seattle – Welcome to Seattle! Want a Crack Pipe?: http://wp.me/pUVNx-f4 […]

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