The safe smoking kits that the Biden administration previously stressed would not include crack pipes, have been revealed to have included that item.
The Washington Free Beacon visited five harm-reduction organizations across the east coast: Boston, New York City, Washington, DC, Baltimore, and Richmond, Virg., and kits gathered from each of these cities included crack pipes.
The Free Beacon noted that not all organizations may offer crack pipes in their safe smoking kits, but "all of the organizations we visited made crack pipes as well as paraphernalia for the use of heroin, cocaine, and crystal methamphetamine readily available without requiring or offering rehabilitation services, suggesting that pipes are included in many if not most of the kits distributed across the country."
The centers from which the Free Beacon obtained the same smoking kits were all run by health-focused nonprofits and government agencies, which were eligible to receive funding from he Biden administration starting this month for the program.
These organizations though did not specify whether they had applied for the Department of Health and Human Services grant.
In Baltimore, the outlet was able to obtain the kit without identification, only needing to state their initials, date of birth, and a zip code before receiving the kit.
It included crack pipes, Chore Boy copper mesh which is a cleaning product used to hold the crack rock at the end of the pipe, directions on how to use the items, mouthpieces, wooden sticks for inserting the mesh into the pipe, and alcohol wipes.
The Free Beacon also noted that the kit included an "Authorized Harm Reduction Program Participant Card," which serves as a "get-out-of-jail-free card to show to law enforcement."
The organization that runs the program is Charm City Care Connection, which receives funding from both Baltimore and Maryland state governments, and has received at least $200,000 in funding from George Soros' Open Society Foundations.
Charm City Care Connection, which is run through Johns Hopkins University, also delivers crack pipes to the doors of "non-men identities."
In Boston, the Access, Harm Reduction, Overdose Prevention and Education facility, which is run by the Boston Public Health Commission, recorded initials, a date of birth, housing situation, and HIV status before dispensing drug equipment.
A worker told the Free Beacon: "One pipe per person, once a day."
The kit included similar items as those in Baltimore, with the addition of lip balm, and the exclusion of such "get-out-of-jail-free" cards because the city’s police do not arrest people for drug possession anymore.
"We're way past that," the employee said. Possession of drug paraphernalia is still considered a crime in the city despite that.
In New York City, the Free Beacon was offered "a long menu of drug paraphernalia available free of charge," including a "booty bump" used for the rectal ingestion of narcotics.
Similar information was required to obtain their kit, provided by Alliance's Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center.
The kit also included a brochure with "safer smoking tips," which included information like "crack and meth use can lead to unprotected sex by increasing your sex drive or making you more sexually passive," "smoke only a little bit first if unsure about its purity," and to source crack from a "source you trust."
Alliance for Positive Change, also known as AIDS Service Center NYC, has received $20 million from HHS since 2004 used mostly for AIDS and HIV-related programs, and an additional $74 million in government grants since 2009. They did not specify whether they obtained the recent Health and Human Services grant.
In the nation's capital, no information was needed to receive a safe smoking kit from a harm reduction center that lies within blocks of two elementary schools, and within a mile from the US Capitol building.
The kit no longer offers program cards, as possession of drug paraphernalia has been decriminalized in the city.
HIPS, which formerly stood for Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive, but now stands for Honoring Individual Power and Strength, received $3.1 million from the Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the administration which oversee’s Biden’s harm reduction program.
In Richmond, a Free Beacon reporter asked employees of the River City Harm Redux organization for two of these crack smoking kits, but was informed that only one remained for the day.
To make up for the gap, the reporter was given one crack smoking kit, as well as a meth pipe and two "snorting kits," which according to The Free Beacon, "include straws, a plastic razor blade to break up drugs, short plastic straws, a small spoon, and a bedazzled playing card to snort drugs off of."
The Free Beacon noted: "The organization is not an authorized harm reduction site recognized by the Virginia Department of Health. Possession of drug paraphernalia in Virginia is a Class 1 misdemeanor. A conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia can result in up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500."
Bruce Taylor, the drug use coordinator for the Virginia Department of Health, told the Free Beacon: "If they are not authorized they are not protected by the law that allows sites to furnish paraphernalia,"
Taylor noted that the state does not allow harm reduction facilities to include crack pipes inside their smoking kits, and that his department is not aware of River City Harm Redux.
The Free Beacon had previously reported in February about the inclusion of these items within the Department of Health and Human Services’ $30 million grant program.
"The purpose of the program," HHS wrote, "is to support community-based overdose prevention programs, syringe services programs, and other harm reduction services."
The Harm Reduction Program Grant will prioritize those in "underserved communities," which includes black and "LGBTQ+ persons," with the grant running for three years, and includes awards of $400,000 for 25 municipal applicants.
This report set off a series of fact checks and statements from the White House stressing that these kits would in fact not include the item.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said following the reporting that crack pipes "were never a part of the kit. It was inaccurate reporting and we wanted to put out information to make that clear."
A statement from Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and the Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Dr. Rahul Gupta stressed that no federal funding would be used on putting pipes in these kits.
"'HHS and ONDCP are focused on using our resources smartly to reduce harm and save lives. Accordingly, no federal funding will be used directly or through subsequent reimbursement of grantees to put pipes in safe smoking kits. The goal of harm reduction is to save lives."
In response to the fact checks, the Free Beacon stated that the outlet had "confirmed the story with the HHS, provided context on the grant program beyond the crack pipes, and described how these 'smoking kits' have been implemented elsewhere."
Per Patrick Hauf, "HHS panicked after the story was published and claimed it was 'blatant misinformation.' Then came the fact checks. Then came the social media labels."
"So now," Hauf wrote on Twitter, "the federal government is denying pipes are in the 'smoking kits.' More than 48 hours after the story was published. I was previously told by HHS the kits are used to smoke crack."
In response to the saga, House Republicans introduced a piece of legislation in February called the "Halting the Use of Narcotics Through Effective Recovery Act of 2022," also known as the "HUNTER Act, taking a jab at Biden son.
The bill, proposed by Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Dan Bishop of North Carolina, would prohibit the use of federal funds to purchase, or support the purchase of, drug paraphernalia.
Boebert told Fox News at the time that the name the bill ended up with was "a better acronym than Stop Paying to Subsidize Biden's Son's Drug Addiction Act. That didn't really flow."
"The HUNTER Act is a means of encapsulating how ridiculous public policy can become when it's in the hands of the woke," Bishop said during the joint interview.