Undeterred, Ms. Shalala encouraged philanthropic organizations to fund needle exchange programs and called on experts from the National Institutes of Health to provide needle exchange training. Mr. Clinton later said he regretted his decision.
When Mr. Biden was elected, addiction experts were thrilled. The American Rescue Plan, the coronavirus relief program it enacted last year, set aside $30 million for a new harm reduction grant program to “support community-based harm prevention programs.” overdoses, needle service programs and other harm reduction services”.
It was the first time Congress had created a specific grant for harm reduction programs — which often operate on shoestring budgets — and the grant program was exempt from a longstanding ban, renewed annually in the measures expenses, to use taxpayers’ money to buy clean needles. Some experts believed the ban could be lifted for good.
“We finally got to a place where this ban was going to be lifted, we would see sustainability, we would see massive change in our current state of infectious disease,” said Chad Sabora, vice president of government and public relations at the ‘Indiana Center for Recovery, a treatment center. He called the new controversy “heartbreaking”.
Safe smoking kits are often distributed by needle service programs and often include glass rods, which function like pipes, as well as lip balm, alcohol swabs, rubber tips, and dabbers. other items to protect against mouth sores and cuts that can spread disease. The guidelines for the new federal grant program do not specify whether the kits can include hoses.
The law is murky; a 1986 law classifies crack pipes (but not needles) as drug paraphernalia and prohibits their sale or shipment. Ms. LaBelle said the law, and similar state laws, could arguably prevent the government from funding the glass rods that serve as pipes.
After the outcry over the Free Beacon article, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the glass pipes were “never part of the kit”, insisting that the story was wrong.