Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn is placing a hold on a continuing resolution to fund the federal government over reports that a program will distribute free crack pipes and other drug paraphernalia.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) program, modeled after one instituted in San Francisco, will reportedly offer $30 million to local governments and non-profits as part of an effort to make drug use safer. The Washington Free Beacon first reported, citing one anonymous source, that the drug paraphernalia kits are expected to include pipes and heroin needles, which the Biden administration has disputed.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki denied the Free Beacon report during her Wednesday press conference, even though the HHS program description mentions “safe smoking kits,” and an HHS spokesperson reportedly confirmed the contents of the kits.
“They were never part of the kit. It was inaccurate reporting,” Psaki said. “Safe smoking kits may contain alcohol swabs, lip balm, other materials to promote hygiene and reduce the transmission of diseases like HIV and hepatitis.”
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