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.
Sarah Lovenheim, an assistant secretary for public affairs for HHS, denied the report in a response to Senator Marco Rubio highlighting the claim.
“Blatant misinformation. The Harm Reduction grant is designed to help folks struggling with substance use stay healthy and safe, prevent overdose death. The grants must stick to federal, state, local laws or regs,” she said.
Patrick Hauf, who broke the story, responded by saying, “Again, I have yet to receive a response from the HHS on how my story is misinformation. The HHS confirmed to me last week that the ‘smoking kits’ they fund are used to smoke crack, meth, and ‘any illicit substance.’ This ‘misinformation’ push today is complete nonsense.”
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.
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