So-called “safe smoking kits” recently obtained in five major U.S. cities contained crack pipes and other drug paraphernalia, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
The Beacon reportedly obtained the kits from Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Richmond.
Blocks from the Capitol and two elementary schools in Washington, D.C., a harm reduction center reportedly offered pipes and other paraphernalia to a Beacon reporter that could be used to smoke crack and methamphetamine.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra said “no federal funding will be used directly or through subsequent reimbursement of grantees to put pipes in safe smoking kits.” (Shawn Thew/Pool via AP, File)
“They were never a part of the kit, it was inaccurate reporting,” former White House press secretary Jen Psaki said of the story at the time. “A safe smoking kit may contain alcohol swabs, lip balm, other materials to promote hygiene and reduce the transmission of diseases.”
The D.C. center, which once stood for Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS), did not respond to request for comment.
Similar centers in the other major cities offered similar devices and responses, according to the Beacon.
Psaki responded to the Free Beacon’s story Thursday, asserting that no taxpayer funds were used for crack pipes.
“This policy does not allow for crack pipes to be included,” Psaki said in response to Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich’s question at the White House press briefing. “I would just note that this is a bit of a conspiracy theory that’s been spread out there. It’s not accurate. There’s important drug treatment programs for people who have been suffering from what we’ve seen as an epidemic across the country,” Psaki said.
The Free Beacon originally cited a HHS spokesperson who told the outlet that the pipes provided in the smoking kits would give users with the ability to smoke “any illicit substance,” including crack cocaine and crystal methamphetamine. The story also noted existing smoking kit programs in cities such as San Francisco, Annapolis, and Seattle all include smoking pipes.
Neither HHS nor the White House immediately responded to Fox News’ request for comment.
A pipe for crack cocaine use, a needle for heroin use and a pipe for methamphetamine use are shown at the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance, the nation’s largest needle-exchange program, in Seattle, Washington. ((USA-DRUGS/SEATTLE REUTERS/David Ryder))
HHS spokesperson Sarah Lovenheim told the Washington Post earlier this year 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.”
The Washington Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler tweeted out the Free Beacon’s story, suggesting a show of support.
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