WASHINGTON (AP), -- The Biden administration announced Wednesday that a grant program designed to prevent further harm to users of illicit drugs won't pay for safer pipes to use crack or meth.
"No federal funding will ever be used directly or through reimbursements of grantees to place pipes in safe smoking kit," Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and White House drug policy advisor Rahul Gupta stated in a statement.
Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, stated separately that this was not the intention. She complained that inaccurate reporting created an impression.
Monday was the deadline to submit federal funding applications for $30 million to service organizations and local governments. This money could be used to purchase "harm reduction" items. These were included in a dozen categories, including overdose prevention drugs and medication lockboxes. They also include test kits for infectious disease and syringe disposal container. Although pipes can be included in safe smoking kits, the grant solicitation didn't mention them.
Sarah Lovenheim, a spokesperson for HHS, tweeted that such reports are "blatant misinformation". Wednesday's White House briefing Psaki stated that paying for pipes was not part of the plan.
Psaki stated that they were not part of the kit. "It was incorrect reporting, and we wanted to make it clear."
Pipes made from crack or methamphetamine can break easily and release toxic fumes. Safety kits can include safer pipes. These kits can also include other supplies such as alcohol swabs for cleaning hands or wiping down pipes