Senate

Rubio, Manchin offer bill to prevent feds from buying ‘crack pipes’

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Friday introduced a bipartisan bill aimed at blocking federal funds from going toward “crack pipes” and other drug paraphernalia.

The Preventing Illicit Paraphernalia for Exchange Systems (PIPES) Act would prevent the government from purchasing syringes and needles to be used for illegal drug injection. The bill also dictates that federal funds can not be used to “procure, supply, or distribute pipes, cylindrical objects, or other paraphernalia that can be used to smoke, inhale or ingest narcotics,” according to a press release.

The bill also states that unless there is a considerable risk of an HIV outbreak or hepatitis infection due to drug use, government funding should not be used for such purchases.

“Every American and West Virginian has been impacted by the drug epidemic that has killed over 101,000 Americans from April 2020 to April 2021,” Manchin said in the press release. “While this is a heartbreaking issue that must be fully addressed by the federal government, using taxpayer funds to buy paraphernalia for those struggling with substance use disorder is not the solution.” 

Rubio also voiced his concern about the use of funds, saying that he does not believe financing the paraphernalia is “the answer.”

“Everyone knows someone who has struggled with addiction, and unfortunately, many have lost a loved one from the disease. Addiction is crippling, not only for the individual, but also for the family and communities throughout our country. We need to do more, but sending drug paraphernalia to addicts is not the answer,” Rubio said in a statement, according to the release.

The news of the bill comes after controversy was sparked earlier this week with the announcement that the Biden administration had plans to use taxpayer funds for pipes that are used for smoking meth or crack as part of a federal grant program meant to reduce harm.

On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services released a statement saying that “no federal funding will be used directly or through subsequent reimbursement of grantees to put pipes in safe smoking kits.”

The New York Times also pushed back on the reporting of the original article that claimed that “crack pipes” would be given to drug users, noting that conservative media played up the program’s mention of “safe smoking kits,” but glass pipes were not specifically mentioned.

Tags biden administration federal grants Joe Manchin Joe Manchin Marco Rubio Marco Rubio
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