Recent News

Surgeon general issues rare advisory: more people should carry opioid overdose antidote (Vox)

The surgeon general issued the office’s first advisory in 13 years — calling on more people to carry the opioid overdose antidote naloxone.

Dr. Leana Wen, the health commissioner of Baltimore, has seen some of this firsthand. In the past, naloxone has typically required a prescription. But in 2015, her office issued a standing order that effectively acted as a blanket prescription for the entire city of Baltimore.

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Poll: Most Americans wary of those suffering from addiction, despite recognition of medical condition (AP)

A slim majority of Americans see prescription drug addiction as a disease that requires medical treatment, but most would not welcome those suffering from the problem into their neighborhoods, workplaces, or families. 

Those figures worry Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen, who says it’s counterproductive to blame people for their medical conditions. 

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‘We simply don’t have the resources’: Surgeon general’s call to carry naloxone raises red flag (ThinkProgress)

It’s been 13 years since a United States Surgeon General issued a public health advisory, but on Thursday Jerome Adams did so to urge every person to carry the overdose-reversal medication naloxone.

In response to Thursday’s announcement, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, arguably naloxone’s most ardent advocate, asked for more financial assistance as local officials have already been trying to get the medication into the hands of every person — and that’s been costly.

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Surgeon General Urges Americans to Carry Drug That Stops Opioid Overdoses (New York Times)

The United States Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome M. Adams, issued a national advisory Thursday urging more Americans to keep on hand and learn how to use the drug, naloxone, which can save the lives of people overdosing on opioids. Naloxone has already revived thousands of overdose victims as the opioid epidemic has intensified, but rescue workers have usually been the ones to administer it.

Dr. Leana Wen, the health commissioner in Baltimore, said her city has to ration naloxone because it can’t afford to keep a stockpile on hand. She called on the Trump administration to negotiate directly with the manufacturers of naloxone to make it available at a steeply discounted rate. 

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

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. 

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What does public health do for us? (Winchester Sun)

Public health saved your life today. You just didn’t know it,” is a saying of Dr. Leana Wen, the Baltimore City health commissioner.

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Drug and Alcohol Treatment in Baltimore Improved with New Facility (Addiction Now)

Baltimore will soon open a new center for people who need short-term drug and alcohol treatment. The center will provide basic services such as first aid, withdrawal management and it will refer people who have a substance use disorder to receive further drug and alcohol treatment in a long-term facility. 

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Making Public Health Visible (Big Cities Health Coalition Blog)

When public health is invisible, we only end up talking about it when things go wrong; people tend to think about public health agencies as entities that respond to infectious disease outbreaks or shut down a restaurant due to health code violations. We frequently think about health as healthcare, but what determines how long and how well we live is less about what happens in the doctor’s office and more about where we live, the air we breathe, and the availability of other resources in our communities. At the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD), we believe that all issues – education, housing, employment, public safety, and beyond – can and should be tied back to health. We are committed to making the progress earned through public health visible, and to make the case for incorporating health-in-all policies across the City.

Read the full blog by Commissioner Dr. Wen and Special Assistant to the CommissionerNarintohn Luangrath here.

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Note From The Commissioner: Stabilization Center Announcement

Yesterday, I joined Mayor Catherine Pugh and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford to announce plans for the first Stabilization Center in Maryland—the beginning of Baltimore’s efforts to create a 24/7 “ER” for addiction and mental health. Mayor Pugh and Chief of Operations Pete Hammen have championed the Stabilization Center from when they were in the State Legislature; they were instrumental to Baltimore City securing the $3.6 million for capital costs for the Center. Mayor Pugh is truly at the forefront of leaders across the country to call for science-based, compassion treatment of individuals with the disease of addiction.

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Maryland's First Stabilization Center to Open in Baltimore (OH&S)

City officials announced Wednesday plans for a stabilization center in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the city’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis. The stabilization center would be the first in the state and would serve as a safe place for drug users to receive basic first aid, withdrawal management, and screening and referral to treatment on-site for those with a substance use disorder. 

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