What to Do If You Find Your Partner’s Crack Pipe Like Hallie Biden

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Hunter Biden’s ex-wife told jurors in his federal gun trial this week that she first found out he was using drugs when she found a crack pipe laying in an ash tray on their porch. His ex-girlfriend and sister-in-law, Hallie Biden, recounted a similar story, telling jurors that she found crack in her home shortly after she began dating Hunter but had no idea what it was.

Hallie, like many Americans, wasn’t prepared to confront a family member with a substance abuse problem and was ill-suited to do so, telling jurors she even had to Google what she’d found.

The discovery led to an addiction of her own.

Hallie Biden Testifies: I’m ‘Ashamed’ I Used Crack With Hunter

About 12.6 percent or 46.7 million Americans reported that they had a substance abuse problem in 2022, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. It’s no surprise then that at least four of the jurors in Biden’s trial revealed during the selection process that they’d had close friends or relatives suffer from substance abuse.

Rachel Karpp, an addiction recovery counselor for Advanced Recovery Systems, who knocked her own painkiller addiction in 2020, said if she were in Hallie’s shoes, she would’ve confronted Hunter immediately.

“I would absolutely confront them face-to-face about it,” Karpp added. “Obviously they’re gonna deny, go into defense mode, maybe not, they may admit it.”

However, Karpp qualified that using shame and guilt were harmful.

“You wanna try to avoid shaming the person and making them feel worse than they already are feeling.” she said.

Karpp said the most potent of strategies is to completely cut off family members who struggle with substance abuse.

“Once they start losing everyone around them, everyone that they know, you know, everyone that they are familiar with, that is when the tough love starts working,” she added.

Joe Biden and Hallie stuck by Hunter’s side through his addiction. Joe, in particular, texted his son frequently with reaffirming messages.

“Good morning my beautiful son. I miss you and love you. Dad,” Joe texted Hunter only days before launching his 2020 presidential campaign, according to the New York Post.

“For f–ks sake hallie for the first time [in] 17 days talks to me to say im an embarrassment. To MY family,” Hunter wrote back, qualifying that Hallie was telling the “truth.”

Hunter’s ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, told jurors in his trial that, while she moved out of the house shortly after finding the crack pipe, she didn’t divorce Biden until February 2017—after “the infidelity.”

Hunter Biden Prosecutors Might’ve Already Lost the Jury

Karpp summarized her strategy as treating those with abuse problems with “tough love.”

“If someone is that deep into addiction, that’s normally what works because it will start affecting the entire family,” she explained.

Dr. Arthur Robin Williams, who leads NIH-funded research into opioid addiction and is an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia, suggested a different approach.

He said maintaining a sense of trust with loved ones battling addiction is “the most important thing.” He also disputed the confrontation tactic endorsed by Karpp.

“If someone is physically ill, going through withdrawal, you know, it could be that they are intoxicated and high and paranoid and suspicious. Now, there are all sorts of scenarios where a direct face-to-face confrontation could be really counterproductive,” he added.

At the time of Kathleen and Hallie’s discovery, Hunter was still very much addicted to crack—smoking every 20 minutes at one point.

Williams also disputed the value of rehab, adding that the field is shifting more toward an outpatient-care model.

“Addiction is a chronic disorder. Going away for 28 days and then coming back to the same setting without having the outpatient support, the long term relationship with a therapist or psychiatrist, typically isn't that helpful for people,” he explained.

Williams noted that another helpful tool for people battling addiction is having someone they know in NA or AA who can go with them to meetings.

“That way, they have connections, [and] they have social outlets that aren't centered around drugs and alcohol,” he said.

Co-founder of Family Addiction Specialist and licensed mental health counselor Lin Sternlicht concurred with both Williams and Karpp, reiterating the value of confrontation but qualifying the importance of coming from a place of care and love.

“It’s critical to establish and communicate firm boundaries regarding drug use in your home,” Sternlicht said of Hallie’s and Kathleen’s reactions to Hunter’s substance abuse problem. Sternlicht added that it was important to stay attentive to the reality of a loved one’s addiction and not fall into a similar denial.

“Oftentimes family members or the addicted individual do not reach out for professional help until a crisis situation has occurred,” Sternlicht warned.

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