Baltimore Health Commissioner: Money for opioid crisis helps, but still not enough (Baltimore Business Journal)

Baltimore City Health Department received a $200,000 grant from the Open Society Institute — Baltimore to support efforts to reduce stigma around addiction and increase community outreach.

The grant comes as Gov. Larry Hogan announced Friday that Baltimore City will be allotted over $3 million in new state funding to battle the ongoing opioid crisis.

Of the $22 million in funding announced last week, the state has committed $750,000 to buy 10,000 units, or 20,000 doses, of the opioid reversal drug Naloxone, $830,429 to go to the city's Opioid Intervention Team and $2 million to support the operational costs of an upcoming stabilization center to treat individuals battling addiction and mental health issues.

But Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore's health commissioner, said the city still needs a lot more. Baltimore City experienced one-third of all of Maryland’s more than 1,800 overdose deaths in 2016. About two people die per day in the city limits, Wen said. She says the most money and resources should continue to be dedicated to fighting the crisis "on the front lines," in the city where the most people are being affected.

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Dr. Leana Wen Interviewed on Matter of Fact

Dr. Leana Wen was interviewed by Soledad O'Brien on Matter of Fact on Sepember 13, 2017 about the opioid crisis. WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore televised the interview live. You can view it here.

Declare a true state of emergency (The Hill)

Several weeks ago, President Trump stated that the opioid crisis was a “national emergency.” To many of us in public health, it was a confusing statement. Just a few days earlier, the president and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price stated that they would not declare a state of emergency, claiming that emergencies are time-bound and resource-finite situations.

As an emergency physician and Commissioner of Health in Baltimore City — where approximately two people a day die from overdose — I can tell you that is not the case. Addiction is a disease, treatment exists and communities around the country are succeeding in fighting the epidemic.

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Federal funding cut to teen pregnancy prevention programs will hurt Baltimore, health commissioner says (BaltimoreSun)

The Trump administration’s decision to cut short a grant program that would have spent $214 million to support teen pregnancy prevention programs will have far-reaching consequences in cities across the United States, including Baltimore. After the program ends next June, the city will lose the equivalent of $3.5 million in funding for a variety of programs aimed at curtailing unintended teen pregnancies. Another $880,000 grant funds research at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health to evaluate a program to reduce sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy among American Indian teens, City Health Commissioner Leana Wen called the decision shocking and “unprecedented.” “We have not ever received a cut to an existing program without explanation, and when the funds were readily available,” she said.

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