As if 2022 wasn’t already ridiculous enough, Democrats in Congress are set to pass a bill on Wednesday prohibiting President Joe Biden from funding the distribution of crack pipes as part of mental health and substance abuse programs. You read that right. Congress is going to pass a law to prevent the federal government from paying for crack pipes in the name of “equity” and stuff.
The Washington Free Beacon, which originally reported on the White House’s foray into crack pipe distribution, noted that the bill “includes a measure that ensures the federal funds are not used to ‘purchase, procure, or distribute pipes or cylindrical objects intended to be used to smoke or inhale illegal scheduled substances.’”
The wording appears to be designed to ensure that the legislation disallows funding for meth and crack pipes of any sort through its $30 million harm reduction program. From the report:
The bill, which passed unanimously out of committee, specifically bars the Substace Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—the same agency that oversees the White House’s controversial harm reduction program—from using funds allocated for substance abuse and mental health programs to fund crack pipe distribution. It is scheduled to get a vote on the House floor on Wednesday afternoon.
When the first story came to light about crack pipes being part of the harm reduction program, the White House denied providing funding for these instruments. Then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the pipes “were never part of the kit” and called the story “inaccurate reporting.” However, it didn’t take too long to reveal that Psaki’s protestations were not accurate.
Psaki says crack pipes "were never a part of the kit. It was inaccurate reporting and we wanted to put out information to make that clear." pic.twitter.com/1mmgc8BIv7
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) February 9, 2022
Patrick Hauf, the author of the original article visited several “harm reduction” spots where organizations that benefit from the White House’s program operate. He saw that they were passing out pipes, needles, and other drug paraphernalia.
Yes, Safe Smoking Kits Include Free Crack Pipes. We Know Because We Got Them.
I visited these "harm reduction" spots on the east coast. What I saw was a system where addicts are handed pipes, needles, and more with no offer of rehabilitation. @FreeBeacon https://t.co/wq8Q0Zrcde pic.twitter.com/NArCqzJFOp
— Patrick Hauf (@PatrickHauf) May 12, 2022
The article explained that it is “unclear” why Democrats in Congress felt the need to specifically ban crack pipe funding since the administration denied it was happening. But it is not hard to imagine that they know the White House isn’t being honest, or has no idea what is going on with its programs. When the story first broke, GOP lawmakers also introduced legislation that would prohibit crack pipe funding, but the proposals never went anywhere.
Harm reduction organizations have been the center of controversy. Some criticize them because they appear to focus more on making it safer to consume dangerous drugs instead of rehabilitating addicts. Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), a member of the committee that passed the bill, told the Free Beacon that it will distance Congress from the White House’s initiative to enable those addicted to drugs rather than helping them break their dependence on illicit substances.
“Stopping the Biden administration from using taxpayer dollars to buy crack pipes is a win for those of us working on commonsense criminal justice reform,” she said. “Handing them out did nothing to make our communities safer or help people struggling with addiction and mental health.”
These programs, along with syringe exchange programs, have become popular in several cities. However, “smoking kits are a less common approach to harm reduction” according to the Free Beacon. Cities like San Francisco, New York City, Boston, Baltimore, and Seattle have taken advantage of these programs.
Some of these groups have met with opposition from the communities in which they are located. Kaiser Health News reported that “[i]n Houston, as in many parts of the country, harm reduction programs operate on the fringes of legality and with scant budgets.” The Biden administration has been the first to “openly embrace harm reduction to curb drug overdoses.”
Deaths resulting from overdoses have skyrocketed over the past two years amid the COVID-19 pandemic and have increased as deadly substances are being trafficked over the border. The migrant crisis has contributed greatly to the problem. In 2021, over 100,000 Americans died from overdoses. About 60 percent of these fatalities were related to fentanyl.
Drug addiction has become a serious issue in America, but cities embracing harm reduction programs have had mixed results. Unfortunately, organizations focusing only on “safe” consumption of these substances are not addressing the root problem causing the wave of addictions because they do not focus on rehabilitating people who have developed drug dependency.