The Biden administration will spend $3.6 million to deploy drug supply vending machines in rural areas of Kentucky in an effort aimed at “reducing stigma around drug use to support treatment and recovery.”
In an Aug. 31 news release, the White House wrote, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), launched four complementary education campaigns that provide information about the prevalence and dangers of fentanyl, the risks and consequences of mixing drugs, the life-saving power of naloxone, and the importance of reducing stigma around drug use to support treatment and recovery.”
The Free Beacon reported that a new study from the University of Kentucky will be the first effort to deploy harm-reduction vending machines.
These machines have already been deployed in other nations, such as Canada, Australia and Germany where, “The distribution of sterile needles, syringes and other equipment via syringe vending machines in public areas and prisons is done in Germany in about 120 cities.”
— Cannabis Prospect Magazine (@CannabisProMag) August 14, 2020
The grant text from the National Institutes of Health said the vending machine or “KyOSK (KY Outreach Service Kiosk), will be supplied with injection equipment, naloxone, fentanyl test strips, hygiene kits, condoms, and other supplies.”
The grant is particularly targeted at two counties where “epidemics of injection drug use, overdoses, hepatitis C, … and … imminent HIV outbreaks” are a major concern, “in rural Appalachian Kentucky which has long been an epicenter of these intertwined crises.”
According to the NIH, the first grant for the project was awarded in August in the amount of $609,439.
The NIH abstract said the kiosk “will be tailored to the local context through a community-engaged process and a Kiosk Design Team involving people who use drugs and local and state leaders.”
According to the Free Beacon, “The National Institute on Drug Abuse, which heads the project at the NIH, told the Free Beacon that along with drug paraphernalia, the vending machines will include ‘food kits, water, socks and gloves, feminine hygiene products, wound care, and resources/guides.'”
Patrick Hauf of the Free Beacon said the University of Kentucky declined to comment.
This move comes almost six months after multiple outlets reported on the administration’s plans through the Department of Health and Human Services to distribute crack pipes in a $30 million “harm reduction program.” Massive public blowback threatened to derail that initiative, according to The New York Times.
Numerous liberal news outlets published “fact-check” reports in February, insisting the administration was not distributing crack pipes, and the White House flat-out denied it.
“They were never a part of the kit, it was inaccurate reporting,” then-Press Secretary Jen Psaki said when questioned regarding the kits in February.
“A safe smoking kit may contain alcohol swabs, lip balm, other materials to promote hygiene and reduce the transmission of diseases,” she added.
Investigative reporting by the Free Beacon in May discovered that in the cities of New York, Boston, Baltimore, Washington and Richmond, crack pipes were included in “safe-smoking kits,” despite the White House claiming that they were not.
The report found that “[a] survey of more than two dozen harm reduction organizations found that not all harm reduction organizations distribute safe smoking kits, but those that do almost always provide crack pipes. The few that don’t include crack pipes in their kits say they are willing to, but unable to.”
“I would if I knew how,” Tyrone Pinkney, who distributes clean needles in Washington, told the Free Beacon.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.