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The Health and Human Services (HHS) Department is rolling out a $30 million grant program that will fund the distribution of items, like crack pipes, for smoking illicit substances, according to a new report.
The Washington Free Beacon initially reported on the program, noting that the department would prioritize applicants in “underserved communities” as defined under one of President Biden’s executive orders. An HHS spokesperson reportedly told the Beacon that the grants would fund smoking kits with pipes for users to smoke crystal methamphetamine, crack cocaine and “any illicit substances.”
The grant document references Biden’s executive order 13985, titled “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.”
The order defines “equity” as “the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.”
LEO TERRELL HAMMERS BIDEN ADMIN PLAN TO DISTRIBUTE ‘SMOKING KITS’: ‘HOW DOES THIS ACHIEVE RACIAL EQUALITY’?
The text of that order also defines “underserved communities” as “populations sharing a particular characteristic, as well as geographic communities, that have been systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic, social, and civic life, as exemplified by the list in the preceding definition of ‘equity.'”
Despite the HHS spokesperson’s reported statement, the department called the Beacon’s report “misinformation.”
“This is blatant misinformation,” read the Tuesday statement from an HHS spokesperson.
“The Harm Reduction Grant offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and authorized by the American Rescue Plan is a grant program designed to help Americans who are struggling with substance use stay healthy and safe, prevent overdose death, and find pathways into evidence-based treatments,” the HHS spokesperson continued. “Like all programs that use federal funding, these grants must adhere to relevant federal, state, and local laws or regulations.”
HHS received a wave of backlash after the issue surfaced. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., derived HHS’s response in a tweet on Tuesday.
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“HHS says that Biden’s crack pipe distribution plan is ‘blatant misinformation!’ but they don’t deny the report,” he said. “Once again, ‘misinformation’ just means true facts that make Democrats look bad.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism