Report: Some “safe smoking kits” provided by the Biden administration do in fact include free crack pipes

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WASHINGTON – Safe smoking kits dispersed along the East Coast are part of the Biden administration’s multi-million dollar harm reduction program.

However, taxpayer dollars are reportedly being spent on crack pipes.

 

The Washington Free Beacon visited and called organizations in Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Richmond, VA, and all had crackpipes in their kits.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, commented during a press briefing in February and said:

“They were never part of the kit, it was inaccurate reporting.”

 

 

And again, in May, she said:

“No federal funding has gone to it.

This policy does not allow for crack pipes to be included.

I would just note that this is a bit of a conspiracy theory that’s been spread out there.

It’s not accurate.

There’s important drug treatment programs for people who have been suffering from what we’ve seen as an epidemic across the country.

And money is not used for crack pipes.”

 

 

A safe smoking kit may contain alcohol swabs, lip balm, and other materials to promote hygiene and reduce the transmission of diseases.

The safe-smoking kits are different depending on the organization that provides them. Some do not contain crack pipes, yet all organizations offer crack pipes and other drug paraphernalia for the use of heroin, cocaine, and crystal meth. These are made accessible to anyone seeking it and there is no rehabilitation requirement.

Each of the sites that provided these kits were health-based non-profit organizations and government-related agencies. These are the groups that meet eligibility requirements for funding from the $30 million grant.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which is set to oversee the program, did not provide a list of those requesting funding. They claimed that confidentiality would not permit them to do so.

 

 

In Baltimore, at Charm City Care Connection, a harm reduction non-profit, employees noted that a smoking kit is provided without identification. Only initials, date of birth, and zip code are requested.

Two smoking kits are then given to the recipient, which contain glass crack pipes and a Chore Boy copper mesh that holds the crack rock onto the pipe.

Directions are also included in the maintenance and upkeep of the pipe. Also part of the package is a card to show law enforcement called an “Authorized Harm Reduction Program Participant Card since such paraphernalia is illegal in Maryland.

In Boston, Access, Harm Reduction, Overdose Prevention, and Education facility, operated by the Boston Public Health Commission, had a visible display of crack pipes and syringes.

An employee commented:

“One pipe per person, once a day.”

Get-out-of-jail-free cards are not offered since the police do not arrest offenders for drug possession anymore.

 

 

New York City at the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center, a wide array of drug paraphernalia is provided for free.

A “booty bump” kit for rectal ingestion is one of the items on the list of offerings as a way to ingest meth.

Included with the kit is some reading on safer smoking techniques, how-tos on purchasing crack safely, and a brief notice stating that their crack pipes are of higher quality since they are made out of Pyrex glass.

Washington, D.C., just miles from the U.S. Capitol, crack pipes were offered, by HIPS, Honoring Individual Power and Strength, formerly known as Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive, all within two blocks of an elementary school.

Volunteers readily supplied smoking kits and did not request any personal information. And, there is no longer a need for program cards since drug paraphernalia is decriminalized in the capital.

 

 

In Richmond, Virginia, at the River City Harm Redux organization, employees set up their distribution of smoking kits outside of a hotel. However, due to a shortage, they provided meth pipes and “snorting kits,” which included straws and a razor blade.

Drug paraphernalia is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia, and a conviction can lead to 12 months in jail and a $2,500.00 fine.

The drug use coordinator for the Virginia Department of Health, Bruce Taylor, said:

“If they are not authorized they are not protected by the law that allows sites to furnish paraphernalia.”

He commented that Virginia does not allow for crack pipes to be included in kits and that his department did not have an awareness of the organization that is distributing them.

 

 

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Biden administration’s latest brainstorm: Use $30 million of taxpayer money to pay for crack pipes

The following contains content which is editorial in nature and reflects the opinion of the writer.

WASHINGTON, DC- As the drug problem in the United States spirals out of control, the Biden administration has apparently produced a solution—fund programs that give crack pipes to drug addicts, for example.

According to the Daily Wirethe Department of Health and Human Services under former California attorney general Xavier Becerra is seeking to implement a $30 million grant program which would do just that. According to the Washington Free Beacon

Applicants for the grants are prioritized if they trat 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 Beacon said:

“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.’”

Fox 5 in New York says the hope is that it will convince people to smoke instead of injecting drugs because (allegedly) injections are riskier. San Francisco and Seattle have implemented crack pipe kit distribution programs, which should probably tell you all you need to know about that idea.

As Law Enforcement Today has previously reported, New York City opened officially authorized “safe injection” sites last November. Fox 5 says the two facilities—referred to as “overdose prevention centers”—provide a place where drug users are monitored with staffers and supplies in place in order to reverse anticipated overdoses.

Advocates have said the program is a great way to reduce overdose deaths. OnPoint New York, which runs the sites says they have intervened in 125 overdoses among some 640 users, many of whom have made multiple visits.

After Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) raised the issue, Sarah Lovenheim, assistant secretary for public affairs for HHS denied the report, calling it “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.

That apparently comes as a surprise to Patrick Hauf, who broke the story, who responded to Lowenheim’s statement.

“Again, I have yet to receive a response from 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,” he said.

It also appears to contradict the actual grant document, which on page 8 refers to “Safe smoking kits/supplies.”

Biden administration's latest brainstorm: Use million of taxpayer money to pay for crack pipes
Grant language that specifies provision of “safe smoking kits/supplies”

Some cities, according to the Free Beacon which implemented such programs in order to address drug addiction by distributing such “smoking kits,” later reversed that decision, including Louisville, Kentucky, and some cities in Maryland.

Meanwhile, 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.”

The so-called “harm reduction program” grant is provided through funds from the “American Rescue Plan,” according to the outlet, while adding, “Other equipment that qualifies for funding include syringes, vaccinations, disease screening, 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 Examinerreported.

“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,” Fox 5 reported.

Last April, two Maryland cities, Annapolis and Brooklyn drew fire after crackpipes were distributed by public health workers, the Daily Wire report stated.

“Absolutely dumbfounded,” said Carl Snowden, Chairman of the Caucus of African American Leaders of Anne Arundel County. “It was inexcusable, unacceptable. We were very, very clear that crack pipes is where we draw the line.”

The first-ever crack pipe vending machines were installed in Vancouver, Canada in 2014, whereby users could purchase crack pipes for 25 cents as opposed to between $1 and $10 on the street, Mark Townsend, director of the PHS Community Health Society stated at the time:

“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 to 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.”

Biden administration's latest brainstorm: Use million of taxpayer money to pay for crack pipes

 

Senators Scott and Rubio introduce CRACK Act to keep federal government from funding crack pipes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to reports, several Republican senators have introduced a bill that would prevent federal funding for a grant from “purchasing, supplying, or distributing crack pipes or similar drug paraphernalia.”

That bill is known as the CRACK Act of 2022.  The acronym stands for “Cutting Rampant Access to Crack Kits,” and it was introduced by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Tim Scott (R-South Carolina).

Cosponsors include Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.),  Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Kennedy (R-La.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)

The bill came about in response to a program that the Department of Health and Human Services recently announced: a grant program called the FY 2022 Harm Reduction Program Grant.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the program has a price tag of $30 million and will begin in May.

 

This Harm Reduction Program came under scrutiny across the country for its apparent intent to distribute crack pipes to addicts in the name of “equity.”

The Washington Free Beacon reported on February 7, 2022:

“Included in the grant, which is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, are funds for ‘smoking kits/supplies.’

“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 publication continued:

“HHS said the kits aim to reduce the risk of infection when smoking substances with glass pipes, which can lead to infections through cuts and sores.

“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.’”

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Although the Beacon reported that the HHS confirmed that crack pipes would be included, other outlets have pointed out that the grant does not specifically name crack pipes in its wording.

The grant, however, does call for nonprofits to “[p]urchase equipment and supplies to enhance harm reduction efforts.”

Examples of such “equipment and supplies” include “safe smoking kits/supplies.”

In a press briefing held on Wednesday, February 9, White House press secretary Jen Psaki pushed back against reports that crack pipes were to be distributed using federal funds, saying that crack pipes “were never a part of the [safe smoking] kit; it was inaccurate reporting.”

She added:

“A safe smoking kit may contain alcohol swabs, lip balm, other materials to promote hygiene and reduce the transmission of disea- — diseases like HIV and hepatitis….

“[W]e don’t support federal funding, indirect or direct, for pipes.”

Re-Fund the Police

Nevertheless, the above-named Republican senators have introduced the CRACK Act, evidently to assure that the vaguely-worded “safe smoking kits” will definitely not include crack pipes.

The bill states that Section 2706(b) of the American Rescue Plan Act of 4 2021 is to be amended to read:

“Amounts made available under this section may not be used to procure, supply, or distribute pipes, cylindrical objects, or other paraphernalia that can be used to smoke, inhale, or ingest narcotics.”

 

In a press release, Senator Tim Scott said of the CRACK Act:

“The thought of taxpayer money funding crack pipe distributions could not be more ludicrous.”

He continued:

“But after a year of ludicrous policies and conflicting statements from the Biden administration, Republicans are leaving nothing up to chance.

“I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bill to ensure our federal government does not fuel dangerous drug addictions at the expense of American taxpayers.”

Cosponsor Senator Marco Rubio added:

“I am glad the Biden Administration acknowledges sending crack pipes to our nation’s addicts is a bad idea.”

Rubio went on to say:

“It is pure insanity to think the federal government would fund crack pipe distribution.

“This legislation will make certain the program can never pay for crack pipes, and given the Biden Administration’s position I look forward to their vigorous support.” 

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Moms protest ‘open drug use’ in police-defunded San Fran, say safe space isn’t safe for anyone

Originally published February 11, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Progressive and liberal leaders in the city thought opening up a safe haven for addicts would somehow curb violence and decrease drug abuse.

According to a group of mothers who are protesting the center, the experiment is nothing more than an utter failure.

 

The Linkage Center at the UN Plaza in the Tenderloin area was opened with the intention of providing resources to addicts who might not otherwise seek assistance.

Instead of doing that, a group of mothers in the area is claiming that the center is doing nothing more than increasing the drug use and dealing in the area.

One of the protesting mothers, Michelle Leopold, spoke to ABC7 News about why she and others have started protesting the center. She said:

“There is drug dealing going on in what is supposed to be a safe place, and there’s open drug use in the Linkage Center. And that is what we’re protesting.”

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Leopold, whose 18-year-old son Trevor died from an opioid overdose in 2019, joined a group called “Moms Against Drug Deaths” with other mothers who have had personal experiences with the drug epidemic in one way or another.

The group decided to step up and protest the center allegedly after they saw photographs of open drug use inside the center.

She said:

“A safe injection site cannot be inside a Linkage Center. They need to be two different topics. This is supposed to be a safe place to get help…but it makes it really hard to look for recovery when you have to pass your drug dealer on the way to that table, or if you have to pass people openly using drugs if you, yourself are looking for recovery.”

 

The San Francisco Department of Public Health issued a statement on the concerns of “Moms Against Drug Deaths.” They wrote:

“We are committed to creating a safe and welcoming space for both people who use drugs and people who do not use drugs. Because we serve many people who use drugs, the site design, staffing, and set-up allow guests to be observed for safety at all times while respecting guest privacy.

“For example, staff routinely and respectfully check on people using private spaces, such as bathroom facilities.

Staff undergo overdose prevention training, which includes identifying and reversing drug overdoses.”

Although the Department of Health makes it sound like they have everything under control and may have saved lives of those that are overdosing, protesters believe that allowing such a venue does nothing but encourage further drug abuse.

Cory, one of the other mothers who did not want her last name publicized, said:

“The enabling doesn’t help anybody…You have to quit enabling them. Giving them everything they need. Why would I ever leave? The enabling doesn’t help anybody.”

Cory speaks from a place of personal experience as her son is addicted to fentanyl and is homeless living in the area. Cory had been providing him food and other personal items so that he could live comfortably on the streets, however, has recently decided she will not be doing so anymore.

 

Cory stopped helping him out with the items that he needs to survive because she believes doing so may motivate him to clean up his act. Whether that approach works or not remains to be seen.

The Linkage Center was opened in December of 2021 after Democratic San Francisco Mayor London Breed noted the drug and crime issue had gotten so bad in the area that she declared a state of emergency.

The mayors and other city leaders had hoped the center would be able to provide a safe place where homeless or addicts could be provided with short and long-term resources that would put them on the path to recovery.

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