More than 70,000 Americans overdosed on drugs in 2019, with 70 percent of those deaths caused by opioids, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
An increase in drug overdose deaths in recent years has caused the federal government to look at harm reduction, a strategy that seeks to keep drug users safe so they have a better chance of eventually kicking their addictions.
In a Feb. 15 news release, Sen. Joni Ernst ridicules a federal Harm Reduction Grant Program, which would provide nearly $30 million in grants funded by the American Rescue Plan to increase access to harm reduction services and support.
“When Iowans hear about the outlandish ways in which Washington wastes their hard earned tax dollars, I’m often asked if the folks making these spending decisions are on crack. Well, it turns out some are!”
Ernst goes on to say:
“As part of a new Biden administration initiative, ‘people who use drugs’ will help decide how to spend nearly $30 million of your tax dollars on smoking kits and drug equipment and supplies for other drug users.
“While the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) initially confirmed crack pipes would be included, the administration is now attempting to backtrack, saying the pipes won’t be part of the deal.
“Regardless of the latest line the administration is pushing, the program announcement is not so crystal clear on if crack pipes will be included.”
This episode of the Fact Checker Podcast is researched and hosted by The Gazette's Erin Jordan. Additional members of the Fact Checker team are Elijah Decious, Marissa Payne and Michaela Ramm.
The Fact Checker Podcast is produced by Stephen M. Colbert and music is Lobby Time by Kevin MacLeod