Washington, DC – White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday insisted that allegations of federal taxpayer dollars being used to pay for free crack pipes were just “a conspiracy theory.”
“I would just note that this is a bit of a conspiracy theory that’s been spread out there,” Psaki told reporters at the daily press briefing on May 13, according to FOX News.
“It’s not accurate,” she continued. “There’s important drug treatment programs for people who have been suffering from what we’ve seen as an epidemic across the country. And money is not used for crack pipes.”
However, the Washington Free Beacon investigated and found that wasn’t true.
Reporters visited five harm-reduction organizations and called more than two dozen additional groups.
Every organization the Washington Free Beacon visited included crack pipes in their free kits.
The facilities that gave the journalists safe drug use kits that included crack pipes were located in Boston, New York City, Baltimore, Richmond, Virginia, and in the nation’s capital.
News of the Biden administration’s controversial giveaway broke in February.
The $30 million Harm Reduction Program Grant stopped accepting applications that month and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it would begin handing out money to recipients in May, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
The program description explained that every recipient had to use the money to implement a specific list of “harm reduction activities” and provided a list that included “safe smoking kits/supplies.”
An HHS spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon that the smoking supply kits referred to in the program guide would include pipes for users to smoke crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, and “any illicit substance.”
HHS said that their goal was to reduce the risk of infection when drug users smoked their drugs out of glass pipes.
Glass pipes put addicts in danger of getting cuts and sores, according to the HHS spokesman.
Grant applicants get priority treatment if their program provides crack pipes and a host of other listed items to mostly “underserved communities,” including African Americans and “LGBTQ+ persons,” as defined by President Biden’s executive order on “advancing racial equity,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Funding for the grants comes from the American Rescue Plan that was crafted by Democrats and only passed with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.
HHS declined to specify what exactly would go into the approved kits but similar efforts in a few Democratic-led West Coast cities like Seattle and San Francisco have included mouthpieces to prevent glass cuts, rubber bands to prevent finger burns, and filters to minimize the risk of disease, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
It is a violation of federal law to give out or sell drug paraphernalia without permission from the federal government.
The HHS Harm Reduction Program also requires recipients to purchase and provide overdose reversal medications, safe sex kits, needles, sharps disposal kits, infection disease testing, fentanyl test strips, and a host of other very specific items, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Ironically, the program guide from HHS also “strongly encourages all recipients to adopt a tobacco/nicotine inhalation (vaping) product-free facility/grounds policy and to promote abstinence from all tobacco products (except in regard to accepted tribal traditions and practices).”
When the news first broke, Psaki claimed it was all untrue, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
“They were never a part of the kit, it was inaccurate reporting,” Psaki told reporters. “A safe smoking kit may contain alcohol swabs, lip balm, other materials to promote hygiene and reduce the transmission of diseases.”
But when the Washington Free Beacon investigated, all of the organizations offered free crack pipes without requiring or offering rehabilitation services, a fact that suggested that pipes are included in many of the kits being given out nationwide.
Those groups also offered free paraphernalia for using heroin, cocaine, and crystal methamphetamine.
The Washington Free Beacon said all of the facilities it investigated were operated by health-focused nonprofits and government agencies, exactly the target recipient group for the Biden $30 million grant program.
Psaki has continued to deny any federal funding has gone to fund crack pipes.
But in Baltimore, Charm City Care Connection – an organization that got more than $200,000 in government grants in 2019 – gives out free glass crack pipes, copper mesh, and even provides instructions on how to use the pipe, according to the Washington Free Beacon.