Biden administration says tax dollars won’t be used to buy crack pipes

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said crack pipes were "never" part of the "safe smoking kits."
Oussman, a crack addict lights a pipe at Stalingrad Square, nicknamed Stalincrack, on December 2, 2020 in Paris.

The Biden administration on Wednesday denied reports that $30 million in federal grants would go towards funding pipes to smoke meth and crack.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and National Drug Control Policy Office Director Dr. Rahul Gupta issued a joint statement refuting the claim and stating that their offices "focused on using our resources smartly to reduce harm and save lives."

"[N]o federal funding will be used directly or through subsequent reimbursement of grantees to put pipes in safe smoking kits," they stressed.

The funding will go towards "proven harm reduction strategies like providing naloxone, fentanyl test strips, and clean syringes, as well as taking decisive actions to go after violent criminals who are trafficking illicit drugs like fentanyl across our borders and into our communities," according to the statement.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said crack pipes were "never" part of the "safe smoking kits."

An HHS spokesperson told The Washington Free Beacon that the kits would "provide pipes for users to smoke crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, and 'any illicit substance.'" 

Psaki called the article "inaccurate," and said that the kits "may contain alcohol swabs, lip balm, other materials to promote hygiene and reduce the transmission of disea– diseases like HIV and hepatitis."

During her White House press conference Wednesday, Psaki said that the administration is looking to fight the opioid epidemic through "harm reduction strategies, including prioritizing the use of fentanyl test strips and clean syringes."

The Drug Policy Alliance said the administration's decision to not fund smoking pipes "is deeply disappointing." 

"This is a missed opportunity to be preventative of more deaths due to overdose," the non-profit group tweeted.

“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 that will disproportionately be felt in Black and Indigenous communities, especially as these communities have experienced some of the sharpest increases in overdose deaths involving fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine," Drug Policy Alliance Director Kassandra Frederique said.

"The Biden Administration has rightfully endorsed expanding access to syringe service programs and harm reduction services such as naloxone, fentanyl test strips, and clean syringes," the Drug Policy Alliance stated. "Safe smoking equipment is another tool in the harm reduction toolbox that can reduce harm and save lives."