February 11, 2022

Manchin, Rubio Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Prohibit Federal Purchasing Of Crack Pipes And Needles For Drug Use

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the bipartisan Preventing Illicit Paraphernalia for Exchange Systems (PIPES) Act to prohibit federal funding from being used to purchase illegal drug paraphernalia, such as needles or crack pipes. For more than 30 years, Congress has passed annual funding bills explicitly prohibiting federal funds from being used to purchase needles or syringes for injection of any illegal drug. This commonsense prohibition must be maintained and we must also ensure that this applies to materials and paraphernalia that can aid individuals in smoking or inhaling illegal drugs.
“Every American and West Virginian has been impacted by the drug epidemic that has killed over 101,000 Americans from April 2020 to April 2021,” said Senator Manchin. “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.”
“Everyone knows someone who has struggled with addiction, and unfortunately, many have lost a loved one from the disease. 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,” said Senator Rubio.
The PIPES Act would:

  • 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.
Bill text can be found here.

Senator Manchin also sent a bipartisan letter with Senators Blunt and Collins seeking answers on the potential for taxpayer funded purchasing of illegal drug paraphernalia.