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Federal Grant Will Provide Drug Abuse Victims with Safe Smoking Kits

Jackson, TN. (WNBJ)-

The Biden Administration will provide grant funding to pay for the distribution of safe smoking kits as part of efforts to reduce harm from substance abuse over the next three years.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration issued a notice of funding for the 2022 Harm Reduction Program Grant. This grant has been making headlines due to the administration’s efforts to provide free crack pipes, though the grant application makes no direct mention of it.

Through this grant the administration also plans to purchase equipment and supplies to enhance harm reduction efforts, such as: harm reduction vending machines, infectious diseases testing kits, FDA-approved overdose reversal medication, safe sex kits, and other services to enhance overdose and other types of prevention activities to help control the spread of infectious diseases.

Women’s residential coordinator at Aspell believes the distribution process of these supplies could be a way to introduce drug abuse victims to support groups in their communities. Lindsey Crowder (ASPELL WOMEN’S RESIDENTAL COORDINATOR) stated, “depending on how they are distributed, it would be beneficial if treatment was offered in conjunction with clean needle exchange, or with the safe sex kits they hand out. The same thing with the smoking kits. If there’s some sort of treatment in conjunction with it.”

Some have questioned if funding drug rehabilitation centers or mental health clinics would be more beneficial. They worry providing drug users drug paraphernalia will enable them. Mary Russell (ASPELL CLINICAL DIRECTOR) informed us, “there’s a certain group of people who are not going to come into a mental health center or a rehab facility, but maybe these safe sex kits will – these harm reduction kits will provide a method of introduction.”

The 75-page application explains that eligible applicants for the grant include state, local and tribal governments, as well as tribal organizations and community-based organizations. Communities selected for the grants should start receiving funding in May of 2022.

Makayla Davis

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