Pipes are harm reduction
Decades of research underline the need for injection alternatives, and Smoke Works is proudly compiling international data for our first literature review!
Our literature review will provide a glimpse into the efficacy of pipes as an intervention, and outline where more research is needed. Smoke Works will begin funding research opportunities based on the review, due to be published in Fall 2022.
Pipes are a safer mode of drug administration
Smoking is a way to minimize the risks of injecting like the transmission of HIV and hepatitis C, soft tissue infections, abscesses, vein damage, and endocarditis. Pipes also reduce the number of syringes discarded in public spaces.
“We have been giving out less syringes and more glass pipes. This is a positive move in so many ways. It allows for less wound care needs and the prevention of spreading HCV and HIV in our community. Also people light up knowing we provide free glass pipes. They call their friends over stoked to pick up new pipes.”
Freewheel Mobile Aid, New Mexico
“Since we started distributing pipes, The Steady Collective has become accessible to more drug users in our community. We’ve found that folks who smoke their drugs or don’t use opioids are committed to carrying naloxone, looking out for their neighbors and saving community members. We had a 65% increase of non-injecting individuals getting naloxone with their pipes over the past three months!”
The Steady Collective
Pipes connect with more people
Because syringe exchange programs focus on injection, people who smoke drugs - especially those who use stimulants - often have no need to visit an exchange. By offering pipes, programs can connect people who smoke drugs with harm reduction education, linkage to other care services, and community support.
Pipes prevent overdose
Pipes make it easy to “go low and go slow.” Loading a rig takes alot of time and if you’re in a hurry it’s easy to make mistakes and hurt yourself or accidentally take too much. With pipes, you can start with a lower dosage and hit as you go until you’ve reached your desired concentration.
“When I have a stem for hotrails I feel more comfortable using in front of a few friends- I’m not sneaking off trying to hurry and get a shot in. They don’t all use so I’ve been able to show them that drug users have dignity and provide them opportunities to ask questions.”
Safer Living Access, Participant
“Listening to participants and catering to peoples expressed needs will result in reduced harm onto their bodies. People vocalize needing pipes. We must meet people where they’re at.”
Pipes reinforce autonomy for people who use drugs
A principle of harm reduction is that harm reduction “affirms people who use drugs (PWUD) themselves as the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use and seeks to empower PWUD to share information and support each other in strategies which meet their actual conditions of use”
In a world full of forced compliance and coervice services, we believe that people who use drugs deserve compassionate services that meet their needs. Providing pipes, along with other safer drug use supplies, ensures that individuals can decide what tools and strategies work best for them in their unique circumstances.