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Bergman lies about program to address surge in drug overdoses

Independent fact-checkers from media sources across the political spectrum have debunked a fake news story shared by Rep. Jack Bergman.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - A program initiated in 1988 under Republican President Ronald Reagan caught the interest of Rep. Jack Bergman last week. The representative from Michigan took to social media to share a now-debunked story from the Washington Examiner.

Bergman shared an image of the headline "Biden administration distributes syringes and crack 'smoking kits' for 'equity.'" He captioned it with, "Crack pipes. Actual crack pipes. This is what Democrats are actually spending millions of taxpayer-funded 'COVID relief' dollars on while trying to disguise it as the 'American Rescue Plan.'"

Dr. Bob Lorinser, MD, MSW, MPH — Bergman's Democratic challenger — is calling out his opponent for misleading constituents. So far, USA Today, ABC News, Politifact, The Washington Post, Forbes, New York Times, and more have fact-checked and debunked Bergman's claim.

"Bergman's post is shameful, dishonest, wrong, and disappointing," said Dr. Lorinser. "There are over 100,000 overdose deaths annually in the United States. Community-based harm-reduction programs have been a component of a continued effort from nearly every presidential administration to address the problem, which the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated. 'Crack pipes' are not part of the program.

“[Jack Bergman’s] political post is also harmful in that it distracts and ridicules successful harm reduction programs utilized by thousands of Americans in desperate need of help. I am asking voters to hold their Representative accountable for the harm this post has done.”

Dr. Lorinser agrees with the vast majority of addiction specialists in his field. Providing health and social services for active drug users and entering them into harm-reduction programs can reduce overdoses, HIV transmission, and other adverse public health outcomes.

While some of the money from the grant program is tabbed for supplies like sterile syringes and safety kits, distributing or funding crack pipes isn't part of the program. “Bergman is wrong. His claim is a lie,” said Dr. Lorinser.

"Facts matter," said Dr. Lorinser. "Politicians hold immense responsibility for what they promote, say, and use for research. This claim is dishonest and a gross misrepresentation of the truth. Jack Bergman is smart, and he knows better. This is a political agitation ploy."

Dr. Lorinser says his campaign is committed to confronting Jack Bergman's misinformation campaign, and now is one of those moments. Lorinser is an addiction specialist / medical expert with advanced degrees in medicine, social work, and public health. He regularly emphasizes his commitment to an honest, ethical, transparent campaign for U.S. Congress.

"Leaders need to show principled leadership," said Dr. Lorinser. "Rep. Bergman has no interest in the truth and lacks the courage to stand up and admit the story is fake.

"The concept of the Hippocratic oath's 'do no harm' rule should extend to words used by Congresspeople," said Dr. Lorinser. "While we're doing honest work to solve real, serious issues, my opponent is spreading blatant misinformation and lies. The American people deserve better."

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