At a Thursday hearing of the House Oversight Committee, Dr. Rahul Gupta of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which operates as part of the president’s direct team, responded to questioning from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). In short, he argued that any contention questioning the relevance and efficacy of harm reduction efforts that are targeted towards drug users is misguided.
In general terms, attempts at harm reduction involve efforts like providing resources for the testing of an individual’s drug supply to determine whether the deadly drug fentanyl is present. Republicans have often pointed to the rate of seizures of fentanyl at the southwest border as ostensible evidence of failures from the president, though Democrats and other observers have argued that higher rates of seizure are fundamentally positive since the confiscated drugs won’t be reaching vulnerable American communities.
“While the drug crisis in this country soars out of control, the Biden administration is busy sending crack pipes, syringes, and safe sex kits to drug addicts in the name of harm reduction,” Greene remarked. “There has not been any harm reduction, Dr. Gupta. People are dying every day.” She cited various specific anecdotes of individuals who have died.
“At the same time, we’ve got to deal with the crisis we have at hand,” Gupta said in reply. “I understand the plight of rural America, coming from West Virginia, every single day I’ve treated patients. I know the pain, I know the suffering. I’ve seen people die in my arms. What we’re trying to do right now is to meet people where they are. Somebody’s overdosing, they need naloxone or narcan. I as a doctor, as you know this, can not treat dead people. So first thing we’ve got to do is keep people alive.”
Gupta also spoke about bettering the technology that’s available for border security efforts, to which Greene responded by pushing for a wall along the southern border.
Check out a clip below:
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA): “The Biden administration is busy sending crack pipes, syringes, and safe sex kits to drug addicts.”
National Drug Control Policy Dir. Dr. Gupta: “I, as a doctor…cannot treat dead people. The first thing we’ve gotta do is keep people alive.” pic.twitter.com/t9WUAJ2uZT
— The Recount (@therecount) July 27, 2023