Biden admin reverses course after free crack pipe program exposed

For Immediate Release
February 9, 2022

DENVER, CO – The Biden administration is reversing course after a crack pipe provision in an HHS grant program was exposed this week.

“Fact checkers” initially acknowledged an HHS harm reduction grant program would permit funding crack pipes in “safe smoking kits,” but after days of blowback the administration now says the HHS grant program never funded free crack pipes.

However, Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post pointed out HHS’s carefully worded backtrack all but confirms a change in policy.

Here in Colorado the left is facing similar pressure over a 2019 bill that downgraded possession of a host of illegal drugs like meth and fentanyl from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen told the Colorado Springs Gazette that “more and more people are overdosing and dying” because of the legislation.

Let’s say before 2020, Paul is in possession of three grams of fentanyl — enough to kill every person in this meeting and everybody on this floor that I’m working on. In 2019, we would contact this person and say, ‘Hey Paul, you can go to jail, or we can take you to LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program) and get you to a case manager and they can start working with you to get the help that you need? Nine times out of 10, Paul is going to say, ‘hey, let me try this LEAD thing.’

I don’t have to go to jail. No, we can hold this in abeyance over here. We won’t even file the case unless you stumble. So, Paul’s getting the help that he needs through the Empowerment Program through LEAD. Now, let’s say Paul’s doesn’t want to do that and says ‘send me to jail.’ We have medical-assisted treatment. We have clinicians that help people in jail. Either door Paul chose, Paul was getting the help he needed for substance abuse disorder. Then we changed the law to where this is a misdemeanor. Now we go out there and the drug dealers know that they can skirt the law entirely. Paul knows there are no consequences other than getting a ticket.

When the system is kicking felons with guns out on PR bonds, what are they going to do with a misdemeanor drug case? Paul gets a ticket and maybe Paul is still alive by the time the court date comes up. What we are seeing is more and more people are overdosing and dying because of this. [Emphasis added]

If you are covering the Biden administration’s harm reduction grant program, please consider the following statement from Compass Colorado.

Soft on crime policies that enable drug addiction under the guise of ‘harm reduction’ are literally killing people in Colorado,” said Compass Colorado Executive Director Kyle Kohli.

Amid Colorado’s historic crime wave, the absolute last thing we need is for the government to distribute drug paraphernalia with taxpayer dollars.”