OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Some Republican lawmakers introduced legislation this week that would bar the federal government from buying and distributing crack pipes while also appearing to take aim at President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, an admitted crack addict, with the name of the bill.
Titled the ‘‘Halting the Use of Narcotics Through Effective Recovery Act of 2022,’’ the legislation is known as the ‘‘HUNTER Act of 2022.”
According to its description, the purpose of the legislation is to “prohibit the use of Federal funds to purchase or support the purchase of, drug paraphernalia.”
The bill also states:
(a) IN GENERAL.—No Federal funds, including funds appropriated by section 2706 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (42 U.S.C. 290dd–3 note), may be used for the purchase, or to support the purchase by any recipient of Federal assistance, of any drug paraphernalia.
(b) DEFINITION.—In this section, the term ‘‘drug paraphernalia’’— (1) has the definition given to that term in section 863 of title 18, United States Code; and (2) includes, to the extent covered by such definition, crack pipes, harm reduction vending machines, syringes, and safe smoking kits and supplies.
According to Fox News, “Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Dan Bishop of North Carolina said in an exclusive joint interview with Fox News Digital that the Biden administration got caught ‘red-handed’ trying to fund crack pipes as part of a $30 million grant program and that legislation is needed to stop the ‘ridiculous’ proposal. The White House has denied the grant would fund crack pipes.”
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Boebert explained the impetus behind the bill.
“Congressman Bishop and I are standing up and saying, heck no,” Boebert noted.
“Our tax dollars should not be funding the death and destruction of crack addicts. Democrats are always putting the American taxpayer last and Republicans just want to give people in need a good job. Democrats want to give them crack pipes,” she added.
“I like the HUNTER Act because it was a better acronym than Stop Paying to Subsidize Biden’s Son’s Drug Addiction act. That didn’t really flow,” Boebert quipped. “I think tax dollars have been on the hook for Hunter’s addictions long enough.”
Bishop also criticized Democrats’ more progressive drug policies including safe injection sites, needle trade-in programs, and safe smoking kits, noting that all of those attempt to “remove all stigma” from drug use, when “actually, stigma is not a bad thing.”
“The HUNTER Act is a means of encapsulating how ridiculous public policy can become when it’s in the hands of the woke,” Bishop said.
The issue arose from a new $30 million “harm reduction” grant proposal that the Biden administration announced earlier this month via the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which is a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“The stated purpose of the program funded through the Democrats’ American Rescue Plan is to prevent overdose deaths and reduce health risks associated with drug use,” Fox News added. “A list of supplies that can be purchased with the grant funds included overdose reversal medications, safe-sex kits with condoms, fentanyl test strips, syringes, as well as ‘Safe smoking kits/supplies,’ according to grant documents.”
Initially, it was reported that the program aimed to “advance racial equity,” but the White House discounted those reports.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that the kits will provide pipes for users to smoke crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, and “any illicit substance.”
However, while the outlet acknowledged an HHS spokesman declined to specify what is included in the smoking kits, it has also stood by its reporting despite pushback from the administration.
Last week our reporter @PatrickHauf reached out to HHS about its plan to fund "smoking kits," and the spokesman both confirmed and defended them as effective at stopping spread of disease. pic.twitter.com/Nl2EnpFWNP
— Brent Scher (@BrentScher) February 8, 2022
“Democratic-run cities such as San Francisco and Seattle have distributed smoking kits to residents. Some local governments, however, have in recent years backed away from their smoking kit programs over concerns they enable drug abuse,” the Free Beacon added.