Despite Trump promises, White House falling short in opioid fight (CBS News)

BALTIMORE -- As Republicans in Congress and the Trump White House continue to craft a health care bill 30 miles to the south, two people overdose on opioids and die every day in Maryland's largest city.

On a street corner in west Baltimore, the extent of the opioid epidemic that has ravaged large swaths of the country was in stark relief Wednesday against the backdrop of a brick wall emblazoned with the words "No Shoot Zone" in spray paint.

In 95-degree heat, men and women of all ages -- black and white -- filed one by one into a white van and dumped out bundles of used needles. Workers with the Baltimore City Health Department handed out brown paper bags containing clean syringes, cookers, filters and rubber bands in exchange. Those who came to turn in their old equipment were users of heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil, a toxic synthetic opioid.

Read the entire story.

Related Stories

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.

Read the entire story.

 

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.

Read the entire story.