Members of a Los Angeles nonprofit that received government funding in the past were seen handing out new meth pipes to the homeless living on Skid Row, outraging some members of the community, according to a local report.
Workers with Homeless Health Care Los Angeles were recorded on video by a resident of the neighborhood as they handed out the paraphernalia while driving around in a golf cart, FOX11 Los Angeles reported.
Tony Anthony, the resident who recorded the video, told the station that he was shocked that this was happening in his neighborhood, arguing that passing out the pipes will only encourage addicts to get high.
"If you walk down Skid Row and see the people that are on methamphetamine … and got sores all over their body, their teeth falling out, bumps all over their face, running down the street butt naked, that’s no safety. They don’t need to be coming down here passing out these glass pipes," he said.
According to public tax records obtained by the station, the nonprofit received $5.7 million in government funding in 2016. The funding was increased to $11.9 million in 2019, the report said.
In the U.S., overdose deaths from methamphetamine nearly tripled from 2015 to 2019 among people ages 18 to 64, according to a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health.
While some residents were left outraged by the broken pipes found littering the streets of Skid Row, others said that handing out clean pipes could save lives.
A man identified only as "Catfish" told the station that picking up the wrong pipe or wrong needle may be deadly and that handing out clean paraphernalia was keeping addicts alive.
Officials with the nonprofit declined to comment to the station.