Being a crack head in “look the other way” San Francisco just got a little sweeter. No longer will you have to share or improvise smoking apparatuses because a drug user advocacy group will begin handing out free crack pipes beginning in March.
Urban Survivors Network says it will start what it calls a “pipe exchange” program to make crack just a little safer for users. The drug user advocates hope that by passing out clean glass pipes, they can help reduce the HIV and hepatitis C cases in the city. I didn’t know you could get AIDS from a pipe. I guess it depends on where you stick it. About a quarter of SF hard drug users are crack aficionados and the city boasts a hug gay population.
The funny thing here is that the super-liberal San Francisco Mayor and city council do not support the pipe-exchange. Seriously, the city that hands out 2.7 million hypodermic needles every year to intravenous drug users is balking at the idea of extending the same courtesy to crack heads.
Mayor Ed Lee has indicated that he is “not supportive” of free crack pipes. The Department of Public Health Director Barbara Garcia also doesn’t feel this initiative is in the public interest. After collecting data, the DPH has stated that it cannot get behind a crack pipe exchange.
Undaunted, the Urban Survivors Network has said it will go ahead with the exchange anyway.
“We decided that we would just begin doing it,” said Isaac Jackson, founder and president of the group.
But Jackson isn’t just the president; he’s a client. Besides being an advocate for drug users, he is himself a crack head. Give the guy some credit. Usually hard-core drug addicts don’t move successfully into political activism. They generally don’t have the motivation.
Even weirder is the fact that Jackson will not reveal the source of his funding for the pipe-exchange program. It’s tempting to think that drug dealers are fronting the money, but this is San Francisco. It’s more likely that a bunch of liberal owned businesses are putting up the cash.
There are federal and state laws that ban the selling of drug paraphernalia like crack pipes. The SF Examiner asks the question as to whether Jackson could be arrested for distributing the pipes. City law enforcement officials would not comment, but c’mon, this is Frisco. The city that allows people to masturbate to porn in the public library is not going to go after a crack smoking enabler.
I think the plan is genius and the city should get behind it. Colorado has seen an uptick in “weed tourism” since the state legalized recreational marijuana. San Francisco could reap similar benefits by touting themselves as the crack-friendliest city in America. And let’s face it; that wouldn’t be the worst thing they’d be known for.