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Police work is dangerous business, but sometimes the most dangerous situations come not when we’re chasing bad guys, but after they’ve already been caught. And in the Downtown Eastside, where infectious diseases like HIV and HEP C are epidemic, police officers must always be on high alert for dirty needles, broken crack pipes and anything else that could cause us harm.

I snapped this picture earlier this week in Chinatown after I found a man in a lane injecting morphine. Turns out he had a warrant, and before sending him to jail my partner and I had to search all of his belongings. Among dozens of used and unused needles, he had knives, crack pipes and other drug paraphernelia. It took a good 15 minutes to dump the stuff on the hood of our car and sort through it, all the while making sure we didn’t get poked or scratched.

The picture below is of the purse belonging to a woman we caught smoking crack earlier tonight on the sidewalk near Hastings and Columbia Streets. It was literally overflowing with needles, crack pipes and other paraphernalia. The orange packages are unused needles, which are handed out en masse throughout the Downtown Eastside. The little blue vials contain sterile water (also handed out en masse) which is used to mix with heroin, meth and cocaine. The beige tubing is part of a crack pipe. Addicts place the plastic tubes on the end of their glass pipes to prevent them from burning their lips on the hot glass when they smoke their crack.

To view the original blog by Steve – click here

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