Omnibus Bans Public Spending on Drug Accessories

( – The Omnibus spending plan, now stalled in Congress, contains a provision that bans federal funds from being spent on so-called crack pipes. “No funds made available by this title shall be used to purchase, procure, or distribute pipes or cylindrical objects intended to be used to smoke or inhale illegal scheduled substances,” the bill states.

A row about the use of federal funds for so-called “harm prevention” has been ongoing for months. In February this year, a $30 million program was introduced to help charities and local governments make drug use safer, according to a conservative publication The Free Beacon. The Department of Health and Human Services said the aim was to reduce infections spreading through shared use of drug paraphernalia. Democrat-led cities including Seattle and San Francisco began distributing smoking kits to residents, while other more conservative lawmakers have banned them on the grounds that they encourage drug use.

When the story was published by The Free Beacon, White House press secretary Jen Psaki denied that crack pipes were included in smoking kits. However, The Free Beacon carried out its own subsequent investigation and traveled to 5 cities – New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Baltimore, and Richmond, Va., – and found smoking kits in all of the cities did in fact contain crack pipes.

The harm reduction strategy to tackle drug use is a divisive one. Its approach is to make it safer to use drugs rather than help addicts stop. It also nods to the liberal idea that the use of hard drugs should be respected as a lifestyle choice. Liberal San Francisco has been taking this approach for years and non-drug users have been paying a heavy price, as have taxpayers. In 2018, reports emerged showing San Francisco streets littered with used syringes. The Bay Area city hired staff to pick up the waste in its neighborhoods.

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