Feds Say No Taxpayer Money for Safer Drug-Smoking Pipes

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Related Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Following outrage on the political proper, the Biden administration mentioned Wednesday {that a} grant program to assist stop further hurt to individuals who use illicit medication won’t pay for safer pipes to smoke crack or meth.

“No federal funding shall be used instantly or by subsequent reimbursement of grantees to place pipes in protected smoking kits,” Well being and Human Providers Secretary Xavier Becerra and White Home drug coverage adviser Rahul Gupta mentioned in an announcement.

White Home press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned individually that was by no means the intention, complaining that impression was created by “inaccurate reporting.”

Monday was the deadline for service organizations and state and native governments to use for a share of $30 million in federal cash for “hurt discount” efforts supposed to forestall illness, damage and different collateral trauma to folks hooked on illicit medication.

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The unique request for funding proposals from the Substance Abuse and Psychological Well being Providers Administration had listed “protected smoking kits/provides” among the many objects that may very well be bought with taxpayer cash. They had been amongst a dozen classes that included overdose prevention medication, medicine lockboxes, check kits for infectious ailments, and syringe disposal containers. The grant solicitation didn’t particularly point out pipes, though they are often a part of protected smoking kits.

That triggered on-line stories that the Biden administration was utilizing federal {dollars} to pay for “crack pipes.” Some Republican senators castigated the administration on Twitter.

HHS spokeswoman Sarah Lovenheim tweeted that such stories had been “blatant misinformation” and Wednesday on the White Home briefing Psaki mentioned paying for pipes was by no means a part of the plan.

“They had been by no means part of the package,” mentioned Psaki. “It was inaccurate reporting and we needed to place out data to make that clear.”

Do-it-yourself pipes for smoking crack and methamphetamine might break simply or additionally launch poisonous fumes. Due to that, safer pipes might be one of many elements of security kits. However these kits can also embody different provides, comparable to alcohol swabs to wash fingers or wipe down a pipe.

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