Mayor Pugh's annual back-to-school rally distributes around 3,200 free backpacks (Baltimore Sun)

Parents and children lined up to get free backpacks decorated with smiley faces, baseball bats and sharks, and filled with school supplies at Mayor Catherine Pugh’s annual back-to-school rally.

The event, hosted at the War Memorial Plaza downtown Saturday, distributed around 3,200 backpacks ahead of the Sept. 4 start date for city schools. Fewer than 100 backpacks were left over, which will be distributed next week, Pugh spokesman James E. Bentley II wrote via text message.

The rally also featured an array of sponsors, including the Baltimore Fire Department, which taught hands-on CPR; the Enoch Pratt Library; and the Baltimore City Health Department, which delivered immunizations to children in the War Memorial Building.

Read the entire story.

Related Stories

Lead poisoning cases fell 19 percent in Baltimore last year, even as more children tested for exposure (Baltimore Sun)

The number of Baltimore children with lead poisoning fell 19 percent in 2017, even as more children were tested for exposure to the powerful neurotoxin.

Statewide, the number of Maryland children found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood held steady even as the number of children tested increased by 10 percent, according to a Maryland Department of the Environment report released Tuesday.

Read the entire story.

Azar Unveils Plan to Help Pregnant Patients Quit Opioids (MedPage Today)

States will get help from the federal government integrating services for pregnant and postpartum Medicaid patients with opioid use disorder under a pilot program announced Tuesday by Health and Hu

Trump declared an emergency over opioids. A new report finds it led to very little. (Vox)

To much fanfare last year, President Donald Trump ordered his administration to declare a public health emergency over the opioid epidemic. “As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue,” Trump said at the time. “It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction.”

When I’ve asked experts about these approaches, it’s not that any of them are bad. It’s that they fall short. For instance, Leana Wen, the former health commissioner of Baltimore (and soon-to-be president of Planned Parenthood), said that the Support for Patients and Communities Act “is simply tinkering around the edges.”

Read the entire story.