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Snopes Determines Everything Correct About Biden Admin Distributing Crack Pipes, Still Labels It ‘Mostly False’

   DailyWire.com
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The purported fact-checking website Snopes attempted to debunk reporting this week that said the Biden administration would be funding programs that distribute crack pipes.

Though the fact check is laced with a snide tone, it ultimately confirms reporting about the Biden administration’s plan to distribute crack pipes to drug addicts. Snopes begins by flipping the claim reported by numerous outlets: “In early 2022, the Biden administration endeavored to advance racial equity by distributing crack pipes to drug users.”

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.”

Following strong backlash online over its rating of the claims, Snopes changed its “Mostly False” rating to “outdated.”

It now claims:

After a wave of grossly misleading news coverage in February 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stipulated that federal funding would not be used to include pipes in safe smoking kits, as part of a substance abuse harm reduction grant program. This newly-stipulated detail was not originally available, meaning the assertions made in a first wave of coverage had become outdated.

Snopes’ summary of its rating shows that everything about the claim is accurate, but Snopes still rates it as “Mostly False”:

What’s True

In 2022, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services substance abuse harm reduction grant did require recipients to provide safer smoking kits to existing drug users. In distributing grants, priority would be given to applicants serving historically underserved communities. However…

What’s False

This was just one of around 20 components of the grant program and far from its most prominent or important one, despite being the primary focus of outraged news reports. The purpose of the program was to reduce harm and the risk of infection among drug users, not to advance racial equity, although that was a secondary consideration.

According to Snopes, the grant program exists and is at least in part intended to “advance racial equity,” so the “Mostly False” rating seems harsh.

Snopes’ longer explanation further confirms reporting from right-leaning outlets, though the fact-checking website claims the posts lack context and are therefore misleading. Context, however, doesn’t make it any less true that the grant program would provide crack pipes to drug users and prioritize “underserved communities.” Snopes quotes from the Health and Human Services document discussing racial equity:

What the HHS document did say about racial equity was as follows. Every applicant for the harm reduction grant is required to provide a two-page “behavioral disparity impact statement,” which roughly speaking, sets out in advance, details about the population which the grant applicant serves, including individuals from historically underserved communities including “racial, ethnic, sexual, and gender minority groups.” 

The document further states that: “The priority populations for this program are underserved communities that are greatly impacted by SUD [substance use disorders]” and clarifies that “underserved communities” is as defined in Executive Order 13985 — Biden’s first executive order, signed on Jan. 20, 2021.

That Executive Order said:

It is…the policy of my Administration that the Federal Government should pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality. 

The Washington Free Beacon confirmed with an HHS spokesman before publication that the Biden administration would be providing crack pipes.

“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 reported.

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.”

This story has been updated to note that Snopes changed its rating from “mostly false” to “outdated” and to include a new statement from HHS and ONDCP. 

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