News Coverage

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.

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.”

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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

Dr. Leana Wen Is Leaving BCHD to Lead Planned Parenthood (WYPR)

As a patient advocate and an emergency physician, Dr. Wen has led the Baltimore City Health Department since January 2015. She has devoted her career to expanding access to health care for low income communities, reducing health disparities, and finding innovative solutions to some of the most challenging public health problems today, from opioid abuse and teen pregnancy to the epidemic of gun violence.

Listen to the segment.

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.

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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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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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We must provide sustained funding proportional to the severity of the opioid epidemic (The Hill)

In her op-ed, Dr. Leana Wen explores three obstacles stopping the full realization of Baltimore's three-pillar strategy to combat the opioid epidemic, and preventing the end of it in Baltimore — and nationwide.

The opioid crisis is the deadliest epidemic in U.S. history. In 2017, nearly 50,000 individuals across the U.S. died from an overdose involving opioids. In my city of Baltimore, 761 people died. Those are mothers not coming home for dinner. Students not graduating from college. And grandparents missing birthdays. They are the human cost of overdose deaths. Yet, disturbingly, we have not reached the peak of this public health emergency. A new study tells an apocalyptic story — 510,000 dead in the U.S. from an opioid overdose in the next decade.

Read the entire story.

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The Home Base of Health (U.S. News & World Report)

Substandard housing conditions have been linked to higher rates of infectious disease, chronic illnesses and injuries, but millions of low-income Americans have little choice about where they live.

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