WASHINGTON (TND) — The White House said Wednesday that crack pipes are not being distributed using federal funding, even after a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reportedly confirmed a new HHS grant would be funding “safe smoking kits” for drug users to consume “any illicit substance.”
HHS put out a statement Wednesday arguing “no federal funding will be used directly or through subsequent reimbursement of grantees to put pipes in safe smoking kits.”
However, “safe smoking kits” are still listed alongside other harm reduction measures in the agency’s Harm Reduction Program Grant.
The nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) reportedly put out a statement after the Biden administration said it would not be allocating federal funding for pipes to smoke illicit substances, calling it “a huge missed opportunity.”
“Backtracking on providing critical evidence-based resources that could greatly improve the health of people who consume drugs through smoking is a huge missed opportunity,” said DPA’s Executive Director Kassandra Frederique.
Nonetheless, the liberal DPA called headlines that the Biden administration was allocating federal funds to hand out pipes to use substances like crack-cocaine or crystal-methamphetamine “distorted.”
“The headlines are distorted,” the DPA said in a tweet. “The truth is that communities could have applied for federal grants to help fund harm reduction interventions. There is no designated funding just for ‘crack pipes.’ These headlines were crafted to intentionally play on fear and racism.”
In an eyebrow raising fact-check, Snopes issued the claim that the Biden administration was using tax payer dollars to hand out crack pipes a “mostly false” rating. But it did admit that “the grant description required the provision of harm reduction supplies, and listed ‘safe smoking kits’ as an example.”
The Washington Free Beacon's Patrick Hauf, who was told by an HHS spokesperson that the agency would be funding these kits for users to consume "any illicit substance," said local governments have handed out these "safe smoking kits" in the past and they have included pipes.
Those with existing smoking kits that include pipes were Annapolis, Md., New Haven, Conn., San Francisco, and Seattle, according to Hauf.