Baltimore City Health Commissioner Responds to Surgeon General’s Advisory Urging Naloxone Use

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BALTIMORE, MD (April 5, 2018) - Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on Naloxone:

“Here in Baltimore, we already have policies to expand naloxone access. In October 2015, I issued a standing order—a blanket prescription for naloxone—to 620,000 Baltimore City residents. Since then, everyday people have saved the lives of more than 1,785 family members, friends, and neighbors throughout our city.

Unfortunately, we are having to ration naloxone because we simply don’t have the resources to purchase this life-saving antidote. Every week, we count the doses we have left and make hard decisions about who will receive the medication and who will have to go without.

The Federal Government needs to follow their policy guidance with specific actions to actually ensure access: they can either negotiate directly with the manufacturers of naloxone so that it’s available at a much-discounted rate, or they can provide direct, sustained funding to local jurisdictions like ours so that we can provide evidence-based, effective treatment. We are in the middle of a national epidemic. We should not be priced out of the ability to save lives.”

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