Funding drug kits to reduce harm and infection: Is Biden admin right?

John Raby / AP

Fact Box

  • On February 9, 2022, the US Department of Health & Human Services released a statement from HSS Secretary Xavier Becerra and ONDCP Director Dr. Rahul Gupta saying, “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 syringes.”
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced the February 7, 2022 deadline to apply for 2022 Harm Reduction Program Grants with the purpose of supporting overdose prevention programs. Funding will involve prevention practices to help control the spread of infectious diseases and substance use disorders (including drug kits (infectious disease testing kits, safe sex kits, substance test kits, etc.), provide education and counseling, and encourage individuals to take steps towards awareness.
  • On November 20, 2021, New York City announced the opening of the first government-approved supervised drug injection site in the US. 
  • Opioids are illegal drugs that include heroin and fentanyl, and prescription meds, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and others. 
  • From 1999 to 2019, almost 500,000 people died from opioid overdose according to the CDC.

Tyler (Yes)

The Biden Administration's newly unveiled drug harm reduction program contains some intriguing strategies that have been proven to work in the past. Claims that the program will provide citizens with federally funded 'crack pipes' have been corrected by Biden's HHS and have been labeled as 'misinformation.' 

Drug overdose deaths shot up 50% during the pandemic. The plan explains that kits containing overdose reversal medication will be available. The reversal agent in use will be Naloxone, a medicine with a 93% effectiveness rate in reversing overdoses. The plan is not encouraging citizens to be drug users, but simply acknowledges a dark reality that needs to be dealt with. Just over half of all drug overdose deaths in the United States are attributed to fentanyl. Items like fentanyl testing kits will reduce deaths by overdose. Studies in Canada proved this is already a method being used by users that can afford it, prompting the overdose rates to decrease. Providing users with the option to see if their drugs are tainted would sensibly lead to fewer deaths.

The initiative also aims to pass out clean syringes and pipes to prevent sickness and infection. Syringe Service Programs (SSP) have been in use in the United States for nearly a decade, just with limited funding. These programs produce a 50% decrease in HIV and viral hepatitis transmission in areas where they are applied. What the Biden administration recognizes is how people will use these drugs regardless. It's better for everyone if they are used safely and in a safe environment. Programs like these, which value citizen safety, is not ‘condoning’ drug usage; it condones safe usage and the limited spread of infection.

Curtice (No)

According to a report published by the Washington Free Beacon, as part of the Democrats' American Rescue Plan, the Biden administration will begin funding the distribution of drug and 'smoking kits' to addicts. Claims of 'crack pipes' aside, the idea of the government using $30 million of citizens' tax dollars to aid destructive habits in the name of 'health and safety' is ironic and satirical.

It is illegal to distribute or sell drug paraphernalia unless the federal government authorizes it. Apparently, the feds prefer not to have competition. A basic understanding of human nature shows us that when authorities allow, condone, or remove punishment around certain activities, it incentivizes more of that specific behavior, not less.

Maryland's Anne Arundel County tried this and abandoned it following complaints from the Black community. The county admitted it 'didn't put enough thought into it.' Louisville, Kentucky, allowed convenience stores to sell smoking kits but soon after, reversed course and banned them. Yet, the Biden administration seems to believe that this bad idea is worth implementing.

'Advancing racial equity' is the supposed momentum behind this drug kit distribution program funded by you through the Biden administration. Apparently, it seeks to ensure that people of all races are equally drug-addicted. If ensuring that those of all races can smoke and shoot up courtesy of the federal government, Biden may achieve his dubious goal.

Yet, as Sgt. Clyde Boatwright, President of the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police, noted, preventative campaigns, rather than enabling campaigns, will offer the opportunity to have safer communities.

After receiving a firestorm of criticism, the Biden administration now claims no federal money will be used to provide 'crack pipes' in this program. Given this administration's rather dubious record with the truth, the American taxpayers should remain skeptical.

  • chat-ic0
  • like-ic2
  • chart-ic28
  • share-icShare


0 / 1000