The crack culture that is Long Island, vending machine markets in everything

Suffolk County locals in New York’s Long Island are on alert in the wake of the appearance of three potential crack pipe vending machines, with authorities trying to find out who planted them.

The town of Brookhaven received complaints about the machines last weekend and two have been removed. One of the machines that was removed was partially destroyed by the community, according to WABC-TV.

The station reported that the machines featured the words “Sketch Pens” and were mounted in cement into the ground. It would dispense a small glass tube and a filter for $2 in the form of eight quarters.

The dispensers were initially reported to officials as merely pen dispensers as it was the first week of school in the community.

Here is the full story, via David C. and John C., more information here.


Man sometimes real life is really freaking weird.

When I hear "news of the weird" stuff like this, it strikes me as so utterly outlandish that no one would've taken the time, effort, money and ingenuity to do it unless they were trying to gain publicity (obviously they have been successful) or foist a giant gag on the rest of us (perhaps marginally successful). This doesn't strike me as being remotely a venture intended to generate revenue so I'm thinking the two I mentioned.

Alternatively, it might have been a guerilla public health attempt at making safe crack pipes available?

I don't know what this community is like, is there a large crack using population? And is there some danger (beyond the normal effects of crack) in using an unfiltered crack pipe similar to the danger of sharing needles?

If not, then my guess is that it's some conceptual art thing. Maybe Banksy is expanding his repertoire?

We can all appreciate the engineering, but we can only imagine the marketing research,

My thoughts, too. I saw the story while watching WABC and was skeptical. Sure, you can make $100 a day in quarters selling crack pipes. Just buy one of these machines, fill it and check in every day or so to collect the money and refill the machine.

Weird? Whoever thought of this had to be smoking ..

oh, I get it now.

So, they should have followed the well tested DC model, and sold roses instead. Though vending machines is a touch of an innovation compared to the DC crack pipe market a dozen years ago - 'At an Exxon station in Southeast Washington, behind a thick pane of protective glass, an attendant in a white Yankees cap peddles chips, cheap cigars and fake roses inside tiny glass tubes.

The little cloth flower looks like a novelty item, something a smitten teenager might buy his sweetheart. But the rose is a ruse, police say, a distraction to be thrown away. The real attraction is the four-inch-long tube that holds the flower. It's a thinly disguised crack pipe, law enforcement officials say.

Convenience stores, liquor stores and gas stations in crack-infested neighborhoods in the Washington area sell what the street calls "rosebuds" or "stems" for $1 to $2. For an extra $1 or so, a crack user can buy a golf-ball-size wad of scouring pad for a filter -- the "Chore Boy" or "Chore," named after an unlucky brand.'

Of course, the laws outlawing drug 'paraphernalia' are from the same time frame as the civil forfeiture laws.

(And for the libertarians, here are the DC decades long crack wars encapsulated in perfect fashion - 'Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), who was videotaped smoking crack while mayor in 1990, spoke out at the meeting as a backer of the anti-paraphernalia effort.

"I support absolutely taking this stuff off the shelf, 100 percent," said Barry, who also tested positive for cocaine several months ago. "You know I've had my problems. But that doesn't have anything to do with my attitude about it."' The contradiction between policy making and personal behavior is so extreme that one wonders why he was able to remain in a position to keep making laws that he clearly will not follow.)

In addition to the flowers in crack pipes, we have socks, shoelaces, and copper scrubbers.

So thats what that is. I had no idea.

There's not really much intellectual justification for banning crack pipes but allowing needle exchanges. They're both hard drug paraphernalia, which shouldn't be shared lest it puts the user at risk of disease.

Surely the risks from needle sharing are orders of magnitude higher than pipe sharing. There's plenty of room for justification based on level of risk.

Of course, one can't meaningfully control access to small tubes, so banning certain sales of them is probably pretty pointless.

As an aside, would drug consumption go up, remain the same, or go down if a "basic universal income" were provided to all?

It will go up, because people who use currently drugs, would be less constrained by money, and can use the extra cash to buy more drugs.

It will go down, because people who use drugs to numb the pain of their poverty get newfound hope for a better future, made possible by money they can use to invest in themselves.

It would stay the same, because the above 2 would perfectly cancel out.



Just put a "for tobacco use only" sticker on it. That's the business model of head shops.

Also, there's some evidence that marijuana can help people to quit crack.

Harm reduction has worked for alcohol =)

It's hard to generalize results from alcohol to crack. Let's assume the two drugs have the same biological effect. The type of person who uses too much of a legal and socially acceptable drug (alcohol) is very different from the type of person who can get over the intense social stigma against crack. Pressuring an alcohol addict into becoming a less problematic member of society is probably easier than doing the same for a crack addict.

Harm reduction is not "Pressuring an alcohol addict into becoming a less problematic member of society".

It's about making sure the alcohol producers sell reasonably safe. Safe in this context mean getting cirrhosis at 70 YO instead of dying or being permanently disabled at 16.

Got it. Thanks. So in the case of crack, losing all your teeth and becoming a prostitute at 70 instead of 40 ;)

Donald Trump is an alcoholic. What? I know, Trump is a lifetime teetotaler, but his behavior is that of an alcoholic. He is obsessive, is prone to rages, is a pathological liar, has no sense of shame, and is unreliable. He is an alcoholic. And alcoholism is a progressive disease, which explains why his behavior has gotten progressively worse as he has aged. If he were a drinking alcoholic he would be removed from office, but because he is a non-drinking alcoholic his behavior is just rationalized as eccentric.

Silence, fool.

Who's obsessive?

This is one of the worst posts I've ever read.

Godwin's Second Law.

Ah, yes, the other explanation for Trump's behavior, not mine, is that he is insane. What's yours?

+10 for getting such strong reactions out of some of regulars here. People can't handle having their orange messiah criticized in any way shape or form.

No, I prefer my criticisms of the orange coiffed narcissist to be tempered by the occasional recognition that he’s stumbled onto a decent policy plan. And not delivered by a verbose obsessive, who lacks insight.

Supplying pipes and filters decreases transmission of hepc, HIV. All Canadian evidence shows this type of Intervention supports decreased harms of substance/crack use

As a Canadian reading these articles it feels like I’ve travelled back in time 25 years...

From a public choice perspective, why would we try to make drug use less harmful?

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

I think "promote the general welfare" would cover it.

Great answer to a question nobody asked. So to expand a bit, if incentives matter, why would we make crack cocaine use more safe?

Here's another one that may upset you: we should do nothing to discourage smoking by the elderly.

The real question is “when Rob Ford was smoking crack on camera, was he following proper crack pipe health protocols?”

Citation needed. The most recent meta analysis on medically supervised injection sites does not support your rosy picture of Canada's now/America's 25-years-from-now. It's more complicated than that.

Can an object be illegal if it has legal uses?

I was thinking of the legal precedent of the movie studios case against Sony's Betamax. VCRs could be (and were) used for copyright infringement, but, U.S. courts ruled it was lawful to sell them anyway because the devices also had non-infringing, lawful uses.

Why would the same logic not apply to drug paraphernalia? Should spoons be illegal because they can be used to "cook" heroin?

Should guns/knives/cars/baseball bats/syringes/ice picks be illegal because they can be used to murder people?

The simple answer, which just leads to more questions, is 'intent.' As noted by the linked Post article.

"...partially destroyed by the community" is one of the best euphemisms I have heard in a long time.

Is it correct to say that South Central LA was partially destroyed by the community in 1982?

Led by a Community Disorganizer, presumably...

The South Central LA riot was described recently (by the NYT) as "unrest".

Crack is back? I thought it went out somewhere between traveler's checks and cassette tapes. Is it now a retro-hipster thing like vinyl, Polaroids, and typewriters?

Why not just leave them alone? Crack smokers have to smoke crack out of something. They're not going to give up crack because oh no, the crack pipe vending machine was removed. Filters are probably saving them ER costs.

Maybe slap a warning sticker on there "Smoking crack is harmful to your health, call 1-800-NOMORECRACK for counseling."

Suspect the real crime is that the city isn't paid getting sales tax.

Comments for this post are closed