President Biden’s Department of Health & Human Services reportedly wants to implement a $30 million grant program that would fund programs giving crack pipes to drug addicts. “Applicants for the grants are prioritized if they treat a majority of ‘underserved communities,’ including African Americans and ‘LGBTQ+ persons,’ as established under President Joe Biden’s executive order on ‘advancing racial equity,’” The Washington Free Beacon reported.
“A spokesman for the agency told the Washington Free Beacon that these kits will provide pipes for users to smoke crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, and ‘any illicit substance,'” the outlet noted.
Following multiple reports on the grant and amid widespread backlash, including from members of Congress, Health and Human Services (HHS) addressed the controversy on Wednesday. HHS Sec. Xavier Becerra and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) director Rahul Gupta said in a press release that no federal funding will be used directly or through subsequent reimbursement of grantees to put pipes in safe smoking kits.”
“HHS and ONDCP are focused on using our resources smartly to reduce harm and save lives. Accordingly, no federal funding will be used directly or through subsequent reimbursement of grantees to put pipes in safe smoking kits,” the statement reads.
“The goal of harm reduction is to save lives,” it continues. “The Administration is focused on a comprehensive strategy to stop the spread of drugs and curb addiction, including prioritizing the use of proven harm reduction strategies like providing naloxone, fentanyl test strips, and clean syringes, as well as taking decisive actions to go after violent criminals who are trafficking illicit drugs like fentanyl across our borders and into our communities. We will continue working to address the addiction and overdose epidemic and ensure that our resources are used in the smartest and most efficient manner.”
The Free Beacon pointed out that some areas that attempted to address drug action by distributing smoking kits to residents later reversed that decision, including Louisville, Kentucky, and Maryland.
Sgt. Clyde Boatwright, president of the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police, told the Free Beacon, “If we look at more of a preventive campaign as opposed to an enabling campaign, I think it will offer an opportunity to have safer communities with fewer people who are dependable on these substances.”
“Funding for the ‘harm reduction’ grant program is provided through Biden’s American Rescue Plan,” The Free Beacon pointed out, adding, “Other equipment that qualifies for funding include syringes, vaccinations, disease screenings, condoms, and fentanyl strips.”
“During his long run in the U.S. Senate, Biden helped create the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which provided sentences 100 times greater for people possessing crack when compared to the same amount of powder cocaine. The policy was widely criticized as having a disproportionate impact on minority communities, and the Biden administration now backs a bill undoing the disparities,” The Washington Examiner recalled.
“News of the pipe program came the same day that the Justice Department signaled that it might be willing to allow safe injection sites for people to use heroin and other drugs. The first officially authorized safe injection sites opened in New York City in November,” Fox 5 New York reported.
In April 2021, backlash ensued after crack pipes were distributed by public health workers in Annapolis, Maryland, and Brooklyn just south of Baltimore. “Absolutely dumbfounded,” said Carl Snowden, Chairman of the Caucus of African American Leaders of Anne Arundel County. “It was inexcusable, unacceptable.” He added, “We were very, very clear that crack pipes is where we draw the line.”
“We were very clear that crack pipes is where we draw the line.”
A public health initiative causing backlash in Anne Arundel Co.
The Caucus of African American Leaders tells me several hundred crack pipes were handed out by public health workers.
— Amy Simpson (@AmySimpsonTV) April 9, 2021
In 2014, Vancouver, Canada, installed the first-ever crack-pipe vending machines, enabling people to purchase crack pipes for 25 cents instead of paying between $1 and $10 on the street. Mark Townsend, director of the PHS Community Services Society, stated:
It’s part of a basic public health intervention, very similar to needle and syringe programs. People who smoke crack often get blisters or burns on their mouth, and sharing a pipe and mouthpiece means greater risk of HIV or hepatitis C, and possibly other infections like pneumonia. This vending machine makes clean pipes available those who need them. … Before we introduced the machines, a pipe cost anywhere between $1 and $10 on the street. This price was too high for many users, meaning people were more likely to share pipes or use unclean equipment.
This story has been updated to include a statement from HHS and ONDCP clarifying that “no federal funding will be used directly or through subsequent reimbursement of grantees to put pipes in safe smoking kits.”
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.