The emerging efforts by the Biden Administration to tackle drug addiction has many Americans up in arms, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida who wrote on Twitter that the president “is sending free meth & crack pipes to minority communities in the name of ‘racial equity.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki corrected Rubio stating Biden’s “safe smoking kits” will not include crack pipes, but “may contain alcohol swabs, lip balm, and other materials to promote hygiene and reduce the transmission of diseases like HIV and hepatitis.”
While measures are being taken to improve user health and safety, providing freebies to the select few seeking help may not be enough to tackle the opioid crisis and causes more concerns for Biden’s traction towards helping minority communities impacted by drugs as opposed to his predecessor Donald Trump.
Although misconstrued in initial reports, the 75-page safe-smoking kits documentoutlines a plan by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for a harm reduction grant program which is to receive $30 million in grant funding. This is not the first time the President has invested tax-payer money towards a cause that has inadvertently impacted minorities.
“Biden’s policies have devastated the Black community,” stated Gianno Caldwell of the NY Post. “The infamous 1994 crime bill, for example, which Biden authored, cost taxpayers $30 billion yet only reduced violent crime by 1.3 percent — and in the process, sent a shamefully high number of Black youths to jail for marijuana crimes that some states have decriminalized. Or take Biden’s provision of a 1986 law that deemed crack cocaine significantly worse than powder cocaine. As a result, whites, who more often used powder cocaine, were treated with leniency, while blacks were disproportionately sent to prison for the same offenses.”
Donald Trump on the other hand implemented the First Step Act, provided tax incentives for investment in low-income census tracts through opportunity zones, devised the “Platinum Plan.” The plan was Trump’s promise to “increase access to capital in black communities by almost $500 billion.” It highlighted four pillars, “opportunity, security, prosperity, and fairness,” calling for measures to be taken to support Black businesses, families, and education. With drugs historically crippling Black communities, Trump vowed in the Plan to “continue to make historic improvements to the criminal justice system through common sense actions like the First Step Act, including increased use of drug rehabilitation vs. drug incarceration.” It also declared the KKK an official domestic terrorist organization.
Whether you like Trump or not, The Platinum Plan offered more to America’s disadvantaged communities than anything Biden has done in his term thus far. Considering drug laws, sentencing, and disparities like Trump’s Plan entails would be a more impactful focus for the current Administration in their attempts to improve racial equity.
President Biden’s son Hunter Biden has been known to battle with drug addiction himself, making the expectation even higher for the President to make meaningful strides for a nation of millions impacted by drug addiction. The flow of fentanyl into the country from Mexico and China continues to worsen, causing one to wonder – could more be done to help addicts by instead focusing funding and efforts at the border?
“It is imperative the Biden Administration take immediate action to protect our communities from this devastating drug, which includes securing our southern border by investing in technology, hiring more customs and border patrol agents, and, most importantly, completing the border wall,” stated Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA).
The Congressman has rallied others to write to President Biden in a letter urging him to make fentanyl’s classification as a Schedule 1 drug permanent, stating, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported a 1,066% increase in fentanyl seized at eight Southern Texas ports during Fiscal Year 2021. Your administration’s failure to properly secure our southern border and hold China accountable for fentanyl production directly contribute to the crisis in our communities.”
Fentanyl’s temporary Schedule 1 classification is due to expire next month. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates there were 100,306 drug overdose deaths in the US in the past year, 64% of which were related to fentanyl, an increase of 28.5% from the previous year.
Biden’s dysfunctional Administration has undergone much scrutiny lately, but investing in worthwhile resources and policies that affect impoverished communities most impacted by drugs inundating the border could turn many people’s opinions around. Will he do it?