Group criticized for handing out meth pipes

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

SEATTLE (WPVI) -- An effort to prevent meth users from contracting disease is under fire after volunteers in a needle-exchange program started handing out meth pipes.

The "People's Harm Reduction Alliance" in Seattle started the pipe distribution about 2 months ago, and now give out about 25 to 30 a day.

The group says it started doing this because meth users who didn't have pipes were turning to syringes, raising the risk of getting HIV, hepatitis C, and other diseases.

An executive director for the group says syringe exchanges have proven to be one of the biggest HIV prevention tools for injection drug use in Washington state and they are hoping for similar results with the pipes.

Volunteers say their encounters help them talk to users about information on addiction treatment.