50 Cent has come a long way since his humble beginnings in Queens, New York. Long enough that he was actually bemused and dismayed upon learning that the Joe Biden administration’s plans to address America’s ongoing drug problem include distributing crack pipes to addicts — something that you might argue a younger 50 would have approved of in his pre-rap career. “OK, I don’t understand what’s going on now,” he wrote on Instagram while sharing the worrying headline. “Let’s just give them some crack everybody loves CRACK. SMH.”
The thing is, Biden’s plan to mitigate the damage of substance abuse does not include any provisions of the sort. Instead, the administration is working on a $30 million program to distribute safe drug kits — containing life-saving measures such as naloxone, fentanyl test strips, and clean syringes — to reduce the number of annual deaths from substance abuse and some of its side effects.
However, conservative outlets ran with the crack pipe framing because it’s easier to demonize addicts — especially if you can throw in some racist dog whistles — than to address the root causes or symptoms of America’s drug epidemic. The misleading reports were refuted by a statement from the US Department of Health and Human Services, which advised, “These comments are misleading and misinformed. Too many Americans have lost their lives to drug overdose. Evidence-based community harm reduction services such as naloxone, fentanyl test strips, and syringe services programs help people stay alive and are proven strategies for addressing this tragic epidemic.”