Health

Even Democrats Now Agree That The Government Should Not Fund Crack Pipes

REUTERS/Ben Nelms

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
Font Size:

The House of Representatives passed by a wide margin on Wednesday legislation that includes a partial ban on federally-funded crack and meth pipes, despite the Biden administration’s insistence that such a ban is unnecessary.

The Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022, introduced by Democratic New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone, primarily funds block grants for community wellness programs targeting mental illness and drug abuse. However, the bill also includes a provision that prohibits the funds from being “used to purchase, procure, or distribute pipes or cylindrical objects intended to be used to smoke or inhale illegal scheduled substances.”

The legislation passed 402-20, with 184 Republicans and 218 Democrats voting in favor. All 20 “no” votes came from Republicans.

The Biden administration has repeatedly denied reports indicating that federal funds would be distributed to organizations that provide crack pipes to drug users under the guise of harm reduction. A $30 million grant administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration was distributed to organizations including Planned Parenthood.

Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Joe Manchin of West Virginia introduced bipartisan legislation in February that would ban any organization that distributes pipes and syringes from receiving federal funding, but Democratic Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy blocked it.

Rubio noted that organizations that distribute mouthpieces for crack pipes can receive federal funding under the grant. (RELATED: ‘Gang Bang Drug Dealer’: Senator Kennedy Blasts Crack Pipe Funding, Says Closed Border Will Help Drug Problem)

“A mouthpiece isn’t what you think, it isn’t some flat thing that you put on your mouth. The mouthpiece is basically the cylindrical tube, straw-looking thing, that you attach to the crack pipe. Now the pipe will have to be shared by the addicts, but they’re each going to have their own little tube that they can attach to smoke it. I just don’t think the federal government should be paying for that,” he said at the time.

The federal government distributed at least $5 million through the Paycheck Protection Program to organizations that provide crack and meth pipes as part of harm reduction programs.