- NEWSWEEK - Josh Marcus- FEB 9, 2022 -
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Conservative legislators are outraged by recent reports that a Biden administration drug harm reduction programme may put some of its funds towards safer smoking kits.
On Tuesday, US Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee wrote to the department of Health and Human Services, expressing “grave concerns” that a $30 million grant programme from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) could include subsidising drug paraphernalia.
“Government-funded drug paraphernalia is a slap in the face to the communities and first responders fighting against drugs flowing into our country from a wide-open southern border,” Ms Blackburn wrote in her letter. “If this is the president’s plan to address drug abuse, our nation is in serious trouble.”
The controversy stems from a recently disclosed request for proposals under the Harm Reduction Grant Program, part of the Biden administration’s effort to lessen the impact of drug addiction on marginalised communities. The initiative also intends to fund facilities offering safe syringe exchanges, opioid reversal drugs, fentanyl test kits, and other methods meant to stem the United States’ striking drug overdose crisis, which killed more than 100,000 Americans between May 2020 and April 2021.
A description of the programme, reported by The Washington Free Beacon, says funding could go towards “smoking kits/supplies.” The Beacon added that an HHS spokesperson explained these kits could include pipes that could be used for drugs like crack cocaine.
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