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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:

Mona Rock: Office: (443) 984-2623, Cell: (410) 375-7763
Perry Meyers: Office: (410) 545-0823, Cell: (667) 216-0723

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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Note From The Commissioner: My New Role

Nearly four years ago, I was given the profound honor and privilege of serving as the Baltimore City Health Commissioner. Every day since then, under the leadership of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and then Mayor Catherine Pugh, I’ve served alongside the most dedicated public servants I’ve ever known, joined in a common mission to combat disparities and improve health and well-being in Baltimore. I have often said that I have my dream job. It has been a dream come true to work with all of you. Together, we have accomplished so much: we’ve saved nearly 3,000 lives from opioid overdose; reduced infant mortality to record lows; provided glasses for all children who need them; treated violence and racism as public health crises; and convened all sectors to improve community well-being.

Statement from Baltimore City Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen:

BALTIMORE, MD (September 12, 2018) – Nearly four years ago, I was given the profound honor and privilege of serving as the Baltimore City Health Commissioner. Every day since then, I’ve served with the most dedicated public servants I’ve ever known, joined in a common mission to combat disparities and improve health and well-being in Baltimore.