May 18, 2024

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No Income for Drug Pipes: Feds Douse Social Media Firestorm | Wellness Information


WASHINGTON (AP) — Dousing a social media firestorm, the Biden administration claimed Wednesday that a grant application to counter damage from illicit drugs will not shell out for safer pipes to smoke crack or meth.

The White Dwelling was set on the defensive as outrage from the political appropriate, some of it with racial overtones, was cresting on-line.

“No federal funding will be utilised directly or by way of subsequent reimbursement of grantees to place pipes in harmless cigarette smoking kits,” Wellness and Human Companies Secretary Xavier Becerra and White Home drug plan adviser Rahul Gupta claimed in a joint statement.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki explained separately it was in no way the intention to pay back for drug pipes, and complained that any this sort of perception was created by “inaccurate reporting.”

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Monday was the deadline for assistance companies and nearby governments to utilize for a share of $30 million in federal revenue for “harm reduction” initiatives to reduce illness, injuries and other collateral trauma to men and women addicted to illicit medicine. Hurt reduction, these kinds of as supplying a place where by drug people can inject and be monitored for overdoses, is a controversial idea. Critics see it as enabling drug use, but community health advocates say it is a pragmatic tactic to keep bad scenarios from having even worse.

The initial request for funding proposals from the Substance Abuse and Mental Wellbeing Services Administration had listed “safe smoking cigarettes kits/supplies” between the objects that could be procured with taxpayer funds. They have been among a dozen classes that incorporated overdose avoidance drugs, medicine lockboxes, check kits for infectious disorders, and syringe disposal containers. The grant solicitation did not especially mention pipes, even though they can be a part of risk-free smoking kits.

Daniel Raymond, director of policy for the Nationwide Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, stated only a several packages in the U.S. have handed out risk-free smoking kits.

“None of this was getting finished with federal resources,” Raymond explained. “I really feel quite self-assured in saying that. I would have been informed if that were being true.”

Nevertheless studies that the Biden administration was using federal bucks to shell out for “crack pipes” took off. Some Republican senators piled on, castigating the administration.

Misleading promises about the HHS system dominated social media early Wednesday, several of them from conservative commentators and Republican politicians sharing memes and tweets that acquired tens of countless numbers of likes.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas tweeted: “Last 7 days, Biden talked about remaining tricky on crime. This week, the Biden Admin declared cash for crack pipe distribution to “advance racial fairness.”

Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee chimed in on Twitter Tuesday night to say, “End authorities-funded crack pipes.”

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida identified as the purported pipe distribution “insanity” in a video posted on Twitter, which experienced 245,000 views by Wednesday afternoon. “The Biden administration is heading to be sending crack pipes and meth pipes concentrating on minority communities in this state,” he reported.

Some social media consumers even went as significantly as to say that Biden and other Democrats ended up likely to give out crack pipes throughout Black Record Thirty day period.

“Joe Biden is handing out crack pipes to help ‘racial equity’… during Black Record Month,” Errol Webber, a Black Republican applicant for California’s 47th Congressional District, reported on Twitter. “No I’m not joking. No I’m not lying. This is what he thinks of our neighborhood.”

HHS spokeswoman Sarah Lovenheim tweeted that this kind of stories were “blatant misinformation,” and Wednesday at the White Home briefing Psaki said paying out for pipes was never ever section of the plan.

“They were never a element of the kit,” reported Psaki. “It was inaccurate reporting and we wanted to place out info to make that very clear.”

Late Wednesday, Rubio issued a push launch saying, “I am happy the Biden administration acknowledges sending crack pipes to our nation’s addicts is a bad notion.”

Advocates of harm reduction feared the blow-up would hamper efforts to coax drug people out of the shadows.

Leo Beletsky, professor of legislation and well being sciences at Northeastern University School of Law, explained he was disappointed by the White House response.

“This administration has said regularly they are making harm reduction one particular of their crucial priorities,” Beletsky claimed. “As quickly as there is a very little suitable-wing echo chamber pushback versus some thing that is very sound and rooted in science, they backtrack. They place their tail involving their legs and back pedal.”

But administration officers Becerra and Gupta said they continue on to stand by “proven hurt reduction approaches like supplying naloxone, fentanyl test strips, and clear syringes.” HHS also pointed out that the hurt reduction grants are demanded to conform to federal, state and nearby legislation, and crack pipes are unlawful in a lot of jurisdictions.

Homemade pipes for smoking crack and methamphetamine could break quickly or also launch poisonous fumes. Because of that, safer pipes might be one of the factors of the kits.

But they also can and do include things like other supplies, this sort of as liquor wipes to thoroughly clean fingers or a pipe, or lip balm for cracked lips, Raymond said. These kinds of give-absent kits can be a way to commence a conversation with drug users, potentially pointing them towards improve.

Connected Press Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson in Washington state contributed. Dupuy claimed from New York.

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