To limit infections among drug users, the Biden administration is creating a $30 million grant program for non-profits to buy crack pipes. It will provide funds to local governments and non-profits to distribute clean pipes to help make drug use safer for addicts, according to Newsweek.
The program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and a spokesperson said that it will supply smoking kits for users to smoke illicit substances such as crystal methamphetamine and crack cocaine. The kits reportedly aim to reduce the risk of infections for people who smoke these substances with glass pipes.
Biden’s executive order, issued January 20th, 2021, said that “the Federal Government should pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.”
Safe smoking kits are just one piece of equipment on a list of 20 items the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) outlined on the grant application for its harm reduction program. The primary purpose of the program to reduce the risk of infection among drug users.
The 75-page application, which is still available to read online, explains that eligible applicants for the grant include state, local and tribal governments, as well as tribal organizations and community-based organizations, among others.
“The purpose of the program is to support community-based overdose prevention programs, syringe services programs, and other harm reduction services,” the document said.
The funding will be used for prevention activities to “help control the spread of infectious diseases and the consequences of such diseases for individuals with, or at risk of developing substance use disorders (SUD).”
One of the requirements for recipients of grant funding is to purchase “equipment and supplies to enhance harm reduction efforts.” The application lists 20 examples.
These includes the “Safe smoking kits/supplies” that have been the focus of some recent articles regarding crack pipes. Other items on the list were infectious disease testing kits, safe-sex kits, including PrEP resources and condoms, syringes “to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases” and screening for infectious diseases.
Selling or distributing drug paraphernalia is against federal law unless authorized by the government. Funding for the program comes from Democrat’s American Rescue Plan.