Jen Psaki smacked down rightwing “free crack pipe” misinformation while Lauren Boebert spread it

Jen Psaki (l)/Lauren Boebert
Jen Psaki (l)/Lauren BoebertPhoto: White House/Jeffrey Breall via Wiki

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was forced to clarify that President Joe Biden isn’t handing out “free crackpipes” to drug users after conservatives like Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) insisted that a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) program would do just that.

A reporter asked Psaki about a statement released yesterday by the HHS that its “safe smoking kits” wouldn’t include crack pipes.

Related: Lauren Boebert tried to mock Jen Psaki’s intelligence. It didn’t go well.

“Can you clarify for us, were they never a part of the kit or were they removed in response to this reporting and this pushback?” the journalist asked.

“They were never a part of the kit; it was inaccurate reporting,” Psaki said curtly. “And we wanted to put out information to make that clear.”

The reporter pressed Psaki on what’s in those kits, and she responded that they “may contain alcohol swabs, lip balm, other materials to promote hygiene and reduce the transmission of diseases like HIV and hepatitis.” She also said that the statement had to be released because of “inaccurate information out there.”

Psaki stressed that the point of the kits are part of HHS’s Harm Reduction program to address opioid deaths, which kill “tens of thousands, if not more, Americans every single day, week, and month of the year.”

While Psaki didn’t name any names when she mentioned “inaccurate information out there,” one of the people who has been beating the “Joe Biden is giving out free crack pipes with your tax money!” horse this week was Boebert. She wrote multiple tweets complaining about the nonexistent crack pipe program that thousands of her supporters liked and retweeted.

“I never in my life thought I would have to say this, but the proper role of government is not to fund the distribution of crack pipes,” she tweeted on Tuesday.

“Nothing says ‘Democrat Priorities’ like raising the price of insulin on Day 1 but making crack pipes free,” she said later.

“I’m sure there’s heavy debate on whether Biden should give the crack pipe contract to China or Pfizer,” she wrote in another message.

“I thought distributing drug paraphernalia was illegal?” she asked.

The Washington Post noted that the phrase “crack pipe” was trending on Twitter on Tuesday as the misinformation spread.

“It’s really disappointing that Republicans are trying to win political points by putting lives at risk and creating misinformation about harm reduction,” said NEXT Distro executive director Jamie Favaro. That company applied for a grant under the HHS Harm Reduction program to distribute a medication to treat drug overdoses.

HHS said that the program involves distributing condoms, Hepatitis A and B vaccinations, and referrals for treatment programs. The “safe smoking kits” that have been getting attention on the right include filters and disinfectant wipes, but no crack pipes.

“Obviously, we would like everybody who is addicted to never use drugs again, but if we can’t have that, we should be grateful to at least reduce use or reduce the damage of use to that person or to the people around them,” said Stanford University School of Medicine addiction researcher Keith Humphreys.

Republicans have historically been opposed to harm reduction programs, arguing that helping addicts avoid infectious diseases – even diseases that they can pass on to others – is the moral equivalent of supporting addiction.

Mike Pence, when he was governor of Indiana, presided over one of the biggest HIV outbreaks in the state’s history because of his moral opposition to a needle exchange program.

Earlier in his career, when he was running for U.S. House, he said that conversion therapy should be federally funded in order to prevent the transmission of HIV.

GOP candidate is angry that students aren’t allowed to “laugh at” transgender kids anymore

Previous article

Out members of Congress call on CDC to make new HIV prevention drug free of cost

Next article