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Rubio, Manchin Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Prohibit Federal Purchasing of Crack Pipes and Needles for Illicit Drug Use

Feb 14, 2022 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced the bipartisan Preventing Illicit Paraphernalia for Exchange Systems (PIPES) Act to prohibit federal funding from being used to purchase drug paraphernalia, such as crack pipes or needles for illicit drugs, that can exacerbate substance use disorder.  
“Everyone knows someone who has struggled with addiction, and unfortunately, many have lost a loved one from the disease,” Rubio said. “Addiction is crippling, not only for the individual, but also for the family and communities throughout our country. We need to do more, but sending drug paraphernalia to addicts is not the answer.” 
“Every American and West Virginian has been impacted by the drug epidemic that killed over 101,000 Americans from April 2020 to April 2021,” Manchin said. “While this is a heartbreaking issue that must be fully addressed by the federal government, using taxpayer funds to buy paraphernalia for those struggling with substance use disorder is not the solution. Our bipartisan PIPES Act will ensure that American Rescue Plan funds can’t be used to buy illicit drug paraphernalia, and I look forward to passing legislation to address this issue quickly.”
The PIPES Act:

  • Maintains the bipartisan, bicameral precedent that prohibits federal funding from being used to purchase needles or syringes for the injection of any illegal drug, unless there is a significant risk of hepatitis infection or HIV outbreak due to injection drug use.
  • Clarifies that federal funds cannot be used to “procure, supply, or distribute pipes, cylindrical objects, or other paraphernalia that can be used to smoke, inhale or ingest narcotics.”
  • Clearly applies these restrictions to American Rescue Plan funding, in accordance to annual Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations language.

Rubio efforts to end illicit drug use: 

  • On February 10, 2022, Rubio introduced the Cutting Rampant Access to Crack Kits (CRACK) Act. The bill would amend Section 2706 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (P.L. 117-2) to prohibit any funds from directly or indirectly purchasing, supplying, or distributing crack pipes or similar drug paraphernalia. 
  • On December 16, 2021, Rubio introduced the Domain Reform for Unlawful Drug Sellers (DRUGS) Act (S. 3399) to provide the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to suspend websites run by criminal networks that traffic fentanyl, counterfeit medications, and other illegal drugs. 
  • On December 21, 2020, Rubio voted to pass the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (H.R. 133), which appropriated $4 billion – an $85 million increase – to prevent opioid addiction, help those struggling to receive treatment, find alternative pain medications, meet workforce needs, and improve behavioral health.
  • On October 3, 2018, Rubio voted to pass the Senate’s Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act (P.L. 115-271), which included two Rubio provisions: the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act and the Sober Home Fraud Detection Act