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The Biden administration introduced a grant program that has many in the GOP outraged over crack pipes. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has finalized a $30 million grant as part of its “Harm Reduction Plan.”
The program is set to begin in May. It’ll provide funds to nonprofits and local governments to help make drug use safer for those struggling with addiction.
There are those in the GOP, like Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn, who have expressed their outrage and claim Biden is giving crack pipes to addicts. Blackburn wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra expressing her “grave concern” about the department’s use of taxpayer money.
A spokesman for the HHS told the Washington Free Beacon that these kits will provide pipes for users to smoke crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, and “any illicit substance.”
Reducing harm by limiting infections
As part of the Harm Reduction Plan, HHS said the kits aim to reduce the risk of infection when smoking substances with glass pipes. Those kind of pipes can lead to infections through cuts and sores. Handing out pipes is also intended to prompt users to smoke rather than inject themselves with some substances, like meth, as injection is far riskier.
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.”
Last May, the Biden administration approved a temporary extension of an emergency policy that identifies fentanyl analogues as a scheduled drug. The extension, signed by the president on May 4, was described as a necessary step to protect public safety. Many prison reform groups, however, call the bill a thinly-veiled extension of the war on drugs.
Attention on stemming the flow of fentanyl into the country increased in recent years as the opioid epidemic took hold. Fentanyl analogues are essentially copies of the original drug with differing chemical components. While some analogues show no enhanced effect, others have proven to be more potent, addictive and deadlier than Fentanyl itself.