WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and a dozen of his colleagues denounced the Biden administration’s plan to expand access to resources for consuming deadly and illegal drugs. Their letter comes after reports indicated that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has considered supporting the use of so-called safe injection sites.
As the letter states, supervised injection sites are “public facilities for drug users to consume illicit drugs like fentanyl, methamphetamine or heroin under the supervision of medical staff,” which would violate precedential and statutory law. Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced a $30 million harm reduction grant program. In their notice of funding opportunity announcement, the department listed smoking kits and supplies – which traditionally have included crack pipes and similar paraphernalia – as items eligible for funding. Indeed, groups like the Drug Policy Alliance have made it clear that crack pipes belong in these smoking kits.
“Recent government reports show that supervised injection sites do not reduce overall overdose deaths or opioid-related emergency calls. Additionally, supervised injection sites have led to an increase in crime, discarded needles, and social disorder in the surrounding neighborhoods,” the lawmakers wrote. “Simply put, there is no such thing as ‘safe’ illicit fentanyl, meth, or heroin. We urge DOJ, as our nation’s chief law enforcement agency, to respect and follow the rule of law and not support illegal supervised injection sites.”
The harm reduction grant program that was recently released by HHS listed a number of ways grant funds could be used by nonprofits and local governments to make drug use safer for those with substance use disorder – including for “safe smoking kits/supplies.”
“Without any explanation or context, your administration seemingly endorsed the dispersal of drug paraphernalia by the federal government. This is clearly concerning. At a base level, it very well could violate federal drug paraphernalia laws. Immediately following news reports on the grant program, a number of lawmakers raised urgent concerns that the language of the grant solicitation could allow federal funds to be used for pipes, including crack pipes. The warranted uproar surrounding this grant solicitation shows that our country is worried about the rise in drug overdose deaths and accompanied violent crime,” the lawmakers continued.
With record-setting overdose deaths claiming an average of 275 lives every day, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has called it an “unprecedented overdose epidemic.” This has coincided with a drastic increase in crime rates across the country. At least a dozen cities set all-time high homicide records in 2021.
Read the full letter by clicking HERE.