Oregon Health Department’s Extravagant $84K Spend on ‘Smoking Supplies’ Sparks Public Outrage

Oregon Health Department's Extravagant $84K Spend on 'Smoking Supplies' Sparks Public Outrage
Oregon Health Department's Extravagant $84K Spend on 'Smoking Supplies' Sparks Public Outrage
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The Multnomah County Health Department in Oregon has spent an exorbitant amount of $84,212.93 on “smoking supplies” for local drug users, raising serious concerns about the appropriateness and effectiveness of such a strategy. The purchase of these items, intended to be part of a harm reduction program, has been temporarily suspended due to public backlash, and rightly so.

The bulk of the funds, a staggering $42,966, was spent on 55,404 smoking pipes of various types, including stem, bubble, hammer, and meth pipes. These pipes, designed for the consumption of various substances, were part of a larger strategy to enable drug use by providing safer equipment. However, the sheer number of pipes and the associated cost have raised eyebrows and led to questions about the county’s priorities.

The document is a detailed “Smoking Supplies Order Sheet” that lists various orders from different vendors. The orders include a wide range of items, including Chapstick, Chopsticks, Regular Stem Pipes, Bubble Pipes, Red Rubber, Mouth Pieces, Clear Vinyl Tubing, Copper Scouring Pad, Brass Screens, Foil, Boba Straws, Hammer Pipes, SWB Bubble Pipes, Heavy Stem Pipes, Foam Pouches, Metal wire racks, Paper clips, Bags, Face shields, Trauma shears, Tarps, Safety Goggles, Gloves, Plastic Razors, White Scoops, Plastic Cards, Plastic Straws, and Education Material. It’s an outrage that taxpayers’ money is being spent on such a ridiculous list of items, which can be used for a variety of activities other than just drug use.

Other significant expenses included $21,613 on 184,000 copper scouring pads and brass screens, used as pipe filters, and $7,250 on aluminum foil. These items, while commonplace in many households, take on a different role in the context of drug use. The copper scouring pads and brass screens serve as filters in the pipes, while the aluminum foil is often used for smoking certain substances.

In addition to these items, the county also spent $6,820 on rubber mouthpieces and $1,389 on chapstick, both aimed at preventing the spread of bloodborne illnesses when sharing pipes. The mouthpieces and chapstick may seem innocuous, but the idea of using taxpayer money to facilitate drug use and its associated illnesses is outrageous.

Interestingly, the county originally planned to spend $30,107 on chapstick, but the supplier could only deliver 77 cases, reducing the cost to $1,389. This shortfall highlights the logistical challenges that can arise in implementing such a program. It’s clear that this program was not well thought out and lacks accountability.

Other notable expenses included $297.95 on 20,000 chopsticks, used for installing pipe filters, and $5 on an educational pamphlet on “boofing,” a term referring to the rectal administration of drugs. The inclusion of an educational pamphlet on such a controversial method of drug use has added fuel to the fire of public criticism.

The program, financed by surplus from the county’s syringe budget, was approved by the county commissioners during a May work session. However, the public outcry and concerns from the Portland City Council, including Mayor Ted Wheeler, led to its suspension. Taxpayer money should not be used to fund such irresponsible and dangerous programs.

Despite the controversy, the Multnomah County Health Department defended the program as a harm reduction strategy. However, the reality is that this program is nothing more than a reckless and irresponsible use of taxpayer money, and it’s time for the county to be held accountable for their actions.

Next News Network Team

Next News Network Team

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