(WJW) — A program designed to help communities with those battling substance abuse is making headlines after some media outlets reported the Biden administration was handing out free crack pipes.
According to FOX News, The Washington Free Beacon first reported that a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told them the “kits will provide pipes for users to smoke crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, and ‘any illicit substance.'”
FOX News reports that, in a statement, HHS said that report is “blatant misinformation.”
Instead, the grant under Biden’s executive order 13985, titled “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government,” is said to “support community-based overdose prevention programs, syringe services programs, and other harm reduction services.”
According to the grant document, funding of up to $9,750,000 per year or $29,250,000
over three years was available to dozens of communities.
“Funding will be used to enhance overdose and other types of prevention activities to help control the spread of infectious diseases and the consequences of such diseases for individuals with, or at risk of developing substance use disorders (SUD), support distribution of FDA-approved overdose reversal medication to individuals at risk of overdose, build connections for individuals at risk for, or with, a SUD to overdose education, counseling, and health education, refer individuals to treatment for infectious diseases, such as HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and viral hepatitis, and encourage such individuals to take
steps to reduce the negative personal and public health impacts of substance use or misuse. “
According to information outlined in the program, part of the funding can be used to purchase supplies such as “safe smoking kits” and FDA-approved overdose reversal medication.
Those communities selected for the grants should start receiving funding in May.