The National Institutes of Health, a public health bureaucracy that still employs Dr. Anthony Fauci, has recently announced that it has approved a grant to outfit areas of rural Appalachia in Kentucky with "harm reduction" kiosks that will provide drug users with easy access to drug paraphernalia without the "stigma" of speaking to a human being.
In its announcement for the program, the NIH applauded the efforts of Kentucky leaders to open "syringe service programs" in various counties throughout the state. However, it claims that "nearly half" of all people who inject themselves with street drugs have not used these SSP resources. What's more, the NIH claims, the most common reason these drug users give for not using SSPs is the "fear of stigma."
To eliminate that fear while still providing the accoutrements for drug use, the NIH will install kiosks containing "injection equipment, naloxone, fentanyl test strips, hygiene kits, condoms, and other supplies." Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, is a drug used to offset the effects of opioid overdose.
The NIH also claims that the kiosks will offer "an innovative call-back feature for facilitated referral to needed services by trained recovery coaches," though it is unclear what this "call-back feature" is or how it will help connect kiosk patrons with "trained recovery coaches."
The NIH plans to use these Kentucky Outreach Service Kiosks, cleverly abbreviated KyOSKs, to monitor the effectiveness of this type of "harm reduction" service. The agency hopes that the kiosks will ultimately reduce HIV, hepatitis C, and drug overdose.
According to a report from the Washington Free Beacon, $3.6 billion has been earmarked for KyOSKs, though the NIH claims that taxpayers will be on the hook for just $609,439. It is unclear who will be supplying the other $3 billion.
The office of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could not be reached for comment about the new KyOSKs.
KyOSKs are just the latest in a series of "harm reduction" efforts made by the Biden administration. In February, the Beacon uncovered an executive plan to invest $30 billion to subsidize crack pipes, a claim that the White House vehemently denied. However, the White House did admit that it has funded "safe smoking kits" containing syringes, but not pipes.
"HHS and ONDCP are focused on using our resources smartly to reduce harm and save lives," Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said at the time. "Accordingly, no federal funding will be used directly or through subsequent reimbursement of grantees to put pipes in safe smoking kits. The goal of harm reduction is to save lives.
"The Administration is focused on a comprehensive strategy to stop the spread of drugs and curb addiction," Becerra continued, "including prioritizing the use of proven harm reduction strategies like providing naloxone, fentanyl test strips, and clean syringes, as well as taking decisive actions to go after violent criminals who are trafficking illicit drugs like fentanyl across our borders and into our communities. We will continue working to address the addiction and overdose epidemic and ensure that our resources are used in the smartest and most efficient manner."