President Biden, through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), rolled out a new "Harm Reduction Grant" program for Fiscal Year 2022, supposedly designed to "support community-based overdose prevention programs, syringe services programs, and other harm reduction services." But if you thought "Obamaphones" were a poor use of taxpayer funds, Joe Biden is one-upping his predecessor with "Bidenpipes," perhaps inspired by his son Hunter.
With an emphasis on "health equity" — defined by the Biden administration as "ensuring that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible" and "the right to access quality health care for all populations regardless of the individual’s race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or geographical location — the grant program outlines what allocated taxpayer funds may be used for in the name of "harm reduction."
As the grant program document (found in full here) explains, funds can be used to:
- Purchase equipment and supplies to enhance harm reduction efforts, such as:
- Harm reduction vending machine(s), including stock for machines;
- Infectious diseases testing kits (HIV, HBV, HCV, etc.);
- Medication lock boxes;
- FDA-approved overdose reversal medication (as well as higher dosages now approved by FDA);
- Safe sex kits, including PrEP resources and condoms;
- Safe smoking kits/supplies;
- Screening for infectious diseases (HIV, sexually transmitted infections, viral hepatitis);
- Sharps disposal and medication disposal kits;
- Substance test kits, including test strips for fentanyl and other synthetic drugs;
- Syringes to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases;
- Vaccination services (hepatitis A, hepatitis B vaccination); and
- Wound care management supplies.
The bullet point that is the most eyebrow-raising is "safe smoking kits/supplies," the bureaucrat-sanitized term for crack pipes.
While they may sound innocuous, "safe smoking kits" typically include a clean pipe and other supplies that can be used to smoke crack, meth, or fentanyl (or parmesan cheese, if your name is Hunter Biden). Thanks to the Biden administration, taxpayer dollars can soon be used by grant recipients to buy and provide these crack pipe kits to those struggling with addiction.
In Maryland's Anne Arundel County, safe smoking kits have already drawn the ire of community leaders in recent years, leading the county to stop including clean pipes in its kits aimed at helping users — which only raises additional questions about why the Department of Health and Human Services is pushing to provide literal crack pipes paid for by taxpayer funds as part of a grant program aimed at "harm reduction."
MARYLAND. To slow overdoses, Anne Arundel Co decided to *distribute* new glass crack pipes to addicts. Despite high demand, AACo was forced to stop the program due to black community complaints. "We didn’t put enough thought into" it, said Co Health Dir.https://t.co/NZ2Dv0HhDq— Politics1.com (@Politics1com) April 9, 2021
A report in The Capital Gazette from 2021 explains the response to safe smoking kits and why they're such a bad idea:
Admitting they “hadn’t put enough thought” into handing out clean crack pipes to slow overdoses and disease spread among drug users in Annapolis, the Anne Arundel County Health Department responded to backlash in the Black community and said it would stop immediately.
The glass pipes were brought to the attention of community leaders by an Eastport Terrace resident, a recovering crack user who has been clean for 17 years, said Carl Snowden, a longtime civil rights activist and convener of the Caucus of African American Leaders.
Distributing pipes could have “unintended consequences” of tempting former drug users to relapse, said Snowden, who recommended the practice be stopped immediately.
Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, county health officer, confirmed in an email to members of the Caucus on Wednesday that the pipes came from AA Power, a group affiliated with the Health Department that distributes supplies aimed at reducing the potential for harm among people suffering from substance use...
The county spent $3,842 on 16 unassembled pipe kits (a box containing 100 each) and another $2,408 for 500 pre-assembled pipes, according to department data...
Distributing crack pipes is “a terrible idea” because they are considered drug paraphernalia and thus “perpetuating a criminal act,” said James Spearman, a retired Annapolis police sergeant and member of the Caucus of African American Leaders.
Despite the previous failings in, and backlash from, the communities Joe Biden claims to be helping with his "racial equity" agenda, HHS is still moving ahead with its grant program to use taxpayer dollars to provide clean crack pipes to those struggling with addiction. It's been proven in Anne Arundel County to have been a bad idea, but as he's shown in his first year in the White House, past mistakes have rarely served as a disincentive for Joe Biden. What could go wrong?