Sens. Manchin, Rubio Introduce Bill to Stop Feds From Buying Crack Pipes

Sens. Joe Manchin and Marco Rubio launched a bipartisan bill Friday aimed at stopping taxpayer funds from being used on pipes used to smoke crack cocaine.

The Preventing Illicit Paraphernalia for Exchange Systems Act, or PIPES Act, would prohibit the use of funds ”to purchase sterile needles or syringes for the hypodermic injection of any illegal drug” or ”to procure, supply or distribute pipes, cylindrical objects, or other paraphernalia that can be used to smoke, inhale, or ingest narcotics.”

Rubio, R-Fla., on Thursday separately introduced a similar bill, the CRACK Act, co-sponsored by 16 Republicans.

”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.

Republican lawmakers earlier this week accused the Biden administration of planning to give out pipes for smoking crack, a claim that refers to a provision in an overdose prevention program that allows the purchase of ”safe smoking kits.”

Grant recipients are required to create harm reduction plans, help curb the spread of infectious diseases and ”purchase equipment and supplies to enhance harm reduction efforts.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier this week that pipes ”were never part of the kit” and dismissed a Washington Free Beacon report that made the claim as inaccurate.

Manchin, D-W.Va., said in a press release announcing the legislation that taxpayer funds should not be used to buy paraphernalia for drug addicts.

”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.

”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.”

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