Republican voters in Pennsylvania are largely opposed to the Biden administration's plan to fund the distribution of needles and crack pipes to drug addicts, according to a new Washington Free Beacon poll.
Eighty-two percent of Republican voters in Pennsylvania said they opposed the White House's "harm reduction" program, which allows nonprofits and local governments to apply for funding to purchase and distribute equipment such as syringes, fentanyl strips, and "smoking kits." Sixty-six percent of respondents said they "strongly" opposed the program, while only 14 percent said they supported it, with just 3 percent expressing strong support.
The Free Beacon reported in February that the smoking kits included crack pipes after a Department of Health and Human Services spokesman said they were used to smoke crack, meth, and "any illicit substance." Smoking kits distributed across the country, from California to Maryland, have included crack pipes. But two days after the story was published, HHS said pipes would not be included in the program.
The Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit that supports harm reduction programs, slammed the Biden administration for "backtracking" on its plan to fund smoking kits that include crack pipes.
The HHS announced the $30 million grant program in December, and it is set to begin in May after applicants are selected. The New York Times reported that the Free Beacon story put the harm reduction plan "in danger of being derailed" after it went viral and sparked action in Congress. Three separate bills have been proposed to ban federal dollars from going toward drug paraphernalia: the CRACK Act, HUNTER Act, and bipartisan PIPES Act.
The Free Beacon poll was conducted by TargetPoint and surveyed 600 GOP primary voters in Pennsylvania from February 25 to 28. The poll also found U.S Army veteran and businessman David McCormick with a commanding lead over celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz in the upcoming Republican primary election.