The Biden administration will dole out millions in grant funds later this year — allowing nonprofits and local governments to use the money on pipes for crack cocaine and crystal meth smokers.
The money would be given out as part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) nearly $30 million Harm Reduction Program Grant, which is meant to support overdose prevention programs across the country.
Tucked into the 75-page grant announcement is a list of “required harm reduction activities” the money must be used for, including the purchase of “equipment and supplies to enhance harm reduction efforts, such as … Safe smoking kits/supplies.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services told The Washington Free Beacon Monday that “Safe smoking kits/supplies” include pipes for users of hard drugs.
Applications for the grant closed on Monday and SAMHSA is expected to award funds to roughly 25 recipients in May. The grant program will last up to three years and provide up to $9,750,000 per year or $29,250,000 over 3 years.
On Tuesday, an HHS spokesperson described the Free Beacon report to Fox News as “blatant misinformation.”
“The Harm Reduction Grant … 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 spokesperson added. “Like all programs that use federal funding, these grants must adhere to relevant federal, state and local laws or regulations.”
HHS did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for clarification.
The grant announcement further states that applicants must affirm that at least half of their “total population(s) of focus” belong to “underserved communities,” as defined in an executive order signed by President Biden on the day of his inauguration.
Those communities, as defined in the order, include “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.”
Other “required harm reduction activities” grant money must be used for include distributing FDA-approved overdose reversal medication; testing kits for infectious diseases, including HIV; medication lockboxes; safe sex kits, including condoms; screening for infectious diseases; medication disposal kids; substance test kits; syringes; vaccination services; and wound care supplies.
The Department has since clarified that grant money cannot be used on creating a safe injection site, and has also noted that syringe distribution is not a “required activity” under the terms of the award.
Funding recipients are limited to States; local, Tribal, and territorial governments; Tribal organizations; non-profit community-based organizations; and primary and behavioral health organizations.