February 9, 2022, 1:40 p.m. ET: White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at the White House press briefing Wednesday that the Biden administration does not support federal funding, directly or indirectly, of crack pipes in kits. HHS “safe to smoke”.
PSAKI said the Health and Human Services Agency never intended to require crack pipes to be included in safe smoking kits.
HHS released this statement at noon Wednesday:
“HHS and ONDCP are focused on using our resources intelligently to reduce harm and save lives. Accordingly, no federal funding will be used directly or through subsequent reimbursement to recipients to put pipes into safe smoking kits. The goal of harm reduction is to save lives. The administration is focused on a comprehensive strategy to stop the spread of drugs and curb addiction, including prioritizing the use of proven harm reduction strategies like providing naloxone, fentanyl test strips and clean needles, as well as taking decisive action to prosecute violent criminals. who traffic illicit drugs like fentanyl across our borders and into our communities. We will continue to work to fight the epidemic of addiction and overdose and ensure that our resources are used in the smartest and most efficient way.
A program administered by the Health and Human Services Agency that will fund needle exchange programs, naloxone, an opioid reversal drug and ‘safe smoking kits and supplies’, has drawn criticism from some who question the use of federal money to pay for drug use supplies.
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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency, part of HHS, has allocated nearly $30 million to fund a harm reduction program grant. The grant will provide money to agencies across the country to fund programs that aim to provide “community-based overdose prevention programs, needle service programs, and other harm reduction services.”
What has caught the attention of some on social media platforms and what some media have reported is a requirement under the grant that calls on organizations receiving money to provide “kits for smoke safely”.
According to a health organization in British Columbia, Canada, a safe smoking kit would typically contain a glass stem (crack pipe), a meth pipe with a bubble at the end, a plastic (pipe), pipe screens which the website describes as a “safer alternative to Brillo or steel wool, a wooden pusher, Vaseline, foil used for smoking heroin and alcohol swabs.
The kit is one of 20 requirements for grant recipients. The complete list of plans, services and/or supplies required for the grant includes:
· Assess organizational readiness and create a strategic action plan.
· Develop a sustainability plan for the end of the grant.
· Develop policies and procedures to implement evidence-based and trauma-informed practices.
· Distribute FDA-approved overdose reversal medications (Narcan) and provide overdose prevention education to target certain populations.
· Establish a referral process for treatment and recovery support services.
· Create a harm reduction advisory council.
· Identify staff members who will design and implement a harm reduction program.
· Purchase equipment and supplies to enhance the program. These supplies should include:
· One or more harm reduction vending machines (used to deliver clean needles, clean syringes and used needle disposal containers).
Infectious Disease Testing Kits
Medication lock boxes
FDA approved overdose reversal drug
Safer sex kits, including PrEP resources and condoms
Safe Smoking Kits/Supplies
Screening program for infectious diseases such as HIV, sexually transmitted infections and viral hepatitis
Disposal kits for sharps and medications
Substance test kits, including test strips for fentanyl and other synthetic drugs
Syringes to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases
Vaccination services (hepatitis A, hepatitis B vaccination)
Wound care management supplies
A funding notice for the grant, called “Harm Reduction Program Grant 2022,” was posted on December 8, 2021. Monday was the deadline for grant applications.
The grant description indicates that priority would be given to applicants serving historically underserved communities.
According to the document, grant applicants are required to write a two-page “behavioral disparity impact statement” that details the population served by the grant applicant, including “racial, ethnic, sexual and of gender”.
These groups of people are defined as “historically underserved,” using the definition from President Joe Biden’s first Executive Order, Executive Order 13985, signed on January 20, 2021.
In EO 13985, Biden defined “underserved communities” to include:
“Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander and other people of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people; People with Disabilities; people who live in rural areas; and people otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality”.
On Tuesday, Senator Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services, expressing “serious concerns” that the grant program could include the Drug Paraphernalia Grant.
“The government-funded drug paraphernalia is a slap in the face to communities and first responders fighting drugs entering our country from a wide-open southern border,” Blackburn wrote in his letter. “If this is the president’s plan to fight drug addiction, our nation is in serious trouble.”
An HHS spokesperson defended the program, saying it’s an effective way to help people struggling with addiction.
“The Harm Reduction Grant offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and authorized by the American Rescue Plan is a grant program designed to help Americans who struggle with substance abuse stay healthy and healthy. safety, prevent overdose deaths and find pathways to evidence-based treatments.
“Like all programs that use federal funding, these grants must comply with relevant federal, state, and local laws or regulations.”
National Drug Control Policy Director Dr Rahul Gupta also defended harm reduction services, saying they needed to be expanded.
“The reality is that evidence-based harm reduction services are out of reach for far too many people,” Gupta said. “Building on the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to expand evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery support services, this historic funding will help make harm reduction services more accessible, so that we can meet people where they are and save lives.
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