It began as a simple story about the Washington Free Beacon, or as the press would have it, the “conservative Washington Free Beacon.” The New York TimesThey joined with other media outlets to try and stop a report which made their favorite political party seem ridiculous. News: The Biden administration funded crack pipes for drug addicts.
The Free Beacon’s Patrick Hauf reported on February 7, “Biden Admin To Fund Crack Pipe Distribution To Advance ‘Racial Equity.’” The press hated that headline, but Hauf backed it up with facts.
HHS stated that the kits are intended to lower the chance of getting infected by smoking glass pipes. This can cause sores and cuts. Prioritization is given to applicants for grants if the grant recipients treat “underserved” communities, including African Americans. This includes “LGBTQ+ persons”, as per President Joe Biden’s executive order “advancing racial equality.”
Hauf’s story dryly concluded: “It is against federal law to distribute or sell drug paraphernalia unless authorized by the government.”
The TimesThe response was defensive. The response was defensive on February 10. New York Times fact-checker Linda Qiu wrote under the headlines “Explaining the Claim About the Biden Administration and ‘Crack Pipes’ — Conservatives have homed in on a specific provision in an overdose prevention grant program to make a misleading claim about crack pipes.”
But health care reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg was truly aggrieved in “Uproar Over ‘Crack Pipes’ Puts Biden Drug Strategy at Risk” in Tuesday’s edition, backing off the fact-checking and shifting to accusations of racism.
President Biden came into office vowing to make “harm reduction” — a public health approach geared toward helping drug users stay safe rather than abstain — a central pillar of his drug policy agenda, at a time when illicit fentanyl has driven a surge in overdose deaths.
Instead, his strategy is in danger of being derailed by a Washington drama over “crack pipes” that is more about political gamesmanship than public health. It is an escalating resurgence of long-standing disputes over clean needle exchanging programs, which addiction specialists hoped would be finally resolved.
Stolberg rejected the Free Beacon — it’s not even a “conservative news organization,” merely a “conservative website.”
Lawmakers of both parties introduced legislation last week to bar federal funding for “drug paraphernalia” in response to a Story in The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website, asserting that federally funded addiction treatment programs would distribute pipes for smoking crack cocaine as part of “safe smoking kits.” In response, White House officials said tax dollars would not be spent on pipes.
Stolberg was worried about the fate of “a new program that would have, for the first time, allowed federal funds to be spent on sterile needles for ‘syringe services’ programs.”
She admitted “Some harm reduction programs do include sterile pipes — which are used for smoking methamphetamine and fentanyl as well as crack cocaine — in such kits…” to prevent disease.
There is no evidence to suggest that the Biden administration wanted to finance distribution of pipes. Nonpartisan fact checkers have debunked the claim.
Stolberg reported that drug overdoses claimed the lives of a record number Americans last year. So maybe the federal government isn’t truly making addiction safer?
The crack pipe fracas arrived just as experts thought they were making progress in getting politicians, including conservative Republicans, to accept harm reduction as a valid strategy….
The election of Vice President Joe Biden brought joy to addiction specialists.….
Experts in addiction saw crack pipe politics as having racist undertones.….
Hunter Biden was unavailable for comment.