'The Hunter Plan?' Twitter Shreds Biden's Tax-Funded 'Safe Smoking' Program

Brittany M. Hughes | February 9, 2022
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Update, February 14: The Department of Health and Human Services has adamantly denied having told the Washington Free Beacon that pipes used to smoke crack, meth, and other illicit substances would be included in the Biden administration's tax-funded "safe smoking" kits, and has denied that such paraphernalia will be funded through tax dollars in the future.

Free Beacon reporter Patrick Hauf claimed in his original February 7 story that HHS had confirmed that the $30 million drug program would include pipes to "smoke crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, and ‘any illicit substance.’” The Free Beacon has since admitted that HHS did not confirm that crack pipes, specifically, would be included; however, an email response from HHS to Hauf dated February 2 reads:

Unsafe smoking practices can lead to open sores, burns and cuts on the lips, and can increase the risk of infection among people who smoke drugs. Safe smoking kits have been identified to reduce the spread of disease. The proposal of using grant funds to purchase supplies for safe smoking kits must be justified by Harm Reduction Program applicants as to how they contribute to preventing and controlling the spread of infectious diseases in the Harm Reduction Grant application. Harm reduction programs that use federal funding must adhere to federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and other requirements related to such programs or services.

SAMHSA does not specify the kits’ elements, only the parameters.

The Washington Post reports that "A 2019 paper issued by Harm Reduction International says smoking kits “can include glass stems, rubber mouthpieces, brass screens, lip balm and disinfectant wipes.”

Because "safe smoking kits" are funded through the program, and because such kits often include glass stems - i.e., "pipes" - used for smoking drugs, Hauf then inferred that the kits funded through the Biden administration's $30 million program also included crack pipes. But his claim that HHS had confirmed the inclusion of crack pipes was admittedly false; rather, the department had declined to specify what would be included, and the contents of the kits can vary from group to group and state to state.

"He never asked, and we never confirmed,” Jorge Silva, HHS deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, told the Washington Post. “I honestly don’t know how that would have been answered.”

The Post then acknowledged that the Biden administration's "original plan is unclear," and it's not known whether crack pipes would have been included if Hauf's story hadn't hit the airwaves.

Following HHS's emphatic statement that crack pipes will not be funded through the program, the Drug Policy Alliance released a statement accusing the White House of “backtracking on providing critical evidence-based resources that could greatly improve the health of people who consume drugs through smoking" by not "allowing federal funding to go towards putting pipes in safer smoking supplies," insinuating that the group had also assumed pipes would be part of the tax-funded kits.

Sarah Lovenheim, HHS assistant secretary for public affairs, has since stated that “The Biden-Harris Administration has never authorized the use of federal funding for smoke pipes and will not in the future. We have not yet approved any harm reduction grants and no money for the program has gone out.”

Update, February 10: President Joe Biden's Department of Health and Human Services is now denying that taxpayer funds will be used to provide pipes for smoking crack, meth, and other illicit substances, contradicting a report by the Washington Free Beacon.

Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a Wednesday afternoon statement that "no federal funding will be used directly or through subsequent reimbursement of grantees to put pipes in safe smoking kits."

However, the Free Beacon continues to maintain that "[a]n HHS spokesman initially confirmed to the Free Beacon that the kits provided through the grant program were designed to smoke crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, as well as "any illicit substance." The outlet also claims that while HHS called their report "misleading and misinformed," the department "declined to provide any information to refute the report."

Original story, February 9: After the Washington Free Beacon revealed this week that Biden’s taxpayer-funded, $30 million "safe drug" program does in fact include free crack pipes to addicts in low-income, predominantly minority communities, the internet went wild mocking the insane (and wildly racist) initiative.

The program, set to launch in May, provides free syringes and “smoking kits/supplies,” including pipes with which to smoke crack and meth, to make it “safer” for drug addicts to get high without risking contracting a communicable disease, not necessarily to help them break their addiction.

According to the administration, the $30 million in taxpayer-provided grant money will be distributed first to groups or centers that focus on “underserved communities” including minorities and LGBTQ, the Free Beacon’s Patrick Hauf explains.

It wasn’t lost on Twitter that the grant is being provided under a Democrat president whose son has a storied history of laying face-down in hotel beds looking like he just downed a heavily powered donut.