Office of the Mayor

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Responds to Passing of Opioids Package

Baltimore, Maryland Yesterday, Congress passed legislation focused on fighting the opioid epidemic. Included in the package are provisions that provide federal support to innovative programs ranging from stabilization centers to peer support services.

Note From The Commissioner: Sharing the Principles that Guide Our Work

Park School

This week, I had the honor of visiting the Park School of Baltimore as their 2017-2018 Resident Scholar. Each year for more than 30 years, the Park School Parents’ Association invites a Resident Scholar to address the Upper School student body. Leaders from the fields of science, politics, music, and literature – including Ta-Nehisi Coates and April Ryan – have visited the Park School as Scholars. 

Leana Wen

The youngest victims of the opioid epidemic (Axios)

In a video covering the opioid epidemic and highlighting babies born with withdrawal symptoms, Dr. Wen addresses another issue in combatting the crisis.

"When addiction seemed to affect poor people of color in inner cities, it was seen as a moral failing - a choice. Unless we address these deep rooted issues, we’re not going to make progress in treating addiction as the disease that we know it to be."

Watch the video here.

 
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It's Time To Go Further to End the Opioid Crisis (The American Prospect)

The rising death toll is a warning that Congress and the White House need to take more decisive action. If they can’t, or won’t, Americans should turn to the courts.

Read the entire story.

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Opioid Reversals Remain Underreported, say Public Health Experts (WYPR)

Karen Holliday says she has something in common with Billie Holiday, Baltimore’s famous jazz singer who died in July 1959 from illness related to drug and alcohol abuse, beside the last name.

“Drugs have always been in this family of mine,” says Holliday. “I was the person who slept right there in the park across the street from the War Memorial. I was also a person that used there.”

Listen to the entire story.

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Note From The Commissioner: Congressional Black Caucus Panel

Congressional Black Caucus

At last week’s Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings invited me to serve as the moderator for his panel on opioids and communities of color. I was honored to host a discussion that featured statements from Congressman Cummings and Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with Mr. Cyril Scovens from Mi Casa Es Su Casa, Dr. Barbara DiPietro from Health Care for the Homeless, Dr. Aliya Jones from Bon Secours Hospital, and Dr. Scott Nolen from Open Society Institute – Baltimore.

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Baltimore City Health Commissioner and Director of Department of General Services Host Naloxone Training for City Employees

BALTIMORE, MD (September 18, 2018) —Today, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen joined Baltimore City Department of General Services (DGS) Director Steve Sharkey to host a naloxone training for Baltimore City Employees at the War Memorial Building. 

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.

Leana Wen

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. 

Leana Wen

Congress is on the verge of a bipartisan opioid package. But experts have big concerns. (Vox)

The Senate this week is expected to vote on a legislative package that will take an array of actions to curb the opioid epidemic, the deadliest drug overdose crisis in US history.

If you hear senators describe it, the legislation, dubbed the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, is a big breakthrough that will boost access to addiction treatment and many other interventions to mitigate the opioid epidemic, from law enforcement efforts against illicit drugs to combating the overprescription of opioids. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who oversees the Senate health committee, noted that the legislation “represents the work of over 70 senators, five committees, and countless staff who have worked together to help put an end to the opioid epidemic ravaging virtually every American community.” 

Read the entire story.

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