News Coverage

Local Health Departments Pay High Price For Opioid Overdose Drug (National Journal)

During an opioid epidemic that has lowered the country’s life expectancy and cost the economy $95.3 billion in 2016, Baltimore City’s health commissioner has found herself having to ration the supply of the drug used to reverse opioid-related overdoses, naloxone.

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House approves opioid bills, but not the one Baltimore health commissioner says 'we desperately need' (Baltimore Sun)

The House of Representatives, considering a legislative package to combat the opiod epidemic, won’t vote on the bill that Baltimore’s health commissioner says is “what we on the frontlines desperately need.”

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Baltimore health chief Wen wants to close the life expectancy gap between poor and wealthy areas (Baltimore Business Journal)

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen uses an example to highlight some of the challenges causing a wide health disparities gap between the city's richer, white neighborhoods and poorer, black neighborhoods.

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Leana Wen

Major opioids legislation is taking shape. Can it make a dent in a national epidemic? (STAT)

By the end of next week, the House will have considered more than 50 bills aimed at staunching the opioid crisis. The volume “may well be a record for legislating on a single issue,” Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Tuesday on the House floor.

Leana Wen, Baltimore’s public health commissioner and a staunch advocate for expanding access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, released a statement encouraging Congress to consider a bill introduced by two Democrats, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.).

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Amazon expands Whole Foods delivery to Baltimore (Technically Baltimore)

Amazon is entering the grocery delivery space in Baltimore. Through its Prime Now service, the ecommerce giant is offering delivery of groceries within two hours from Whole Foods, which it purchased last year. While Baltimore’s health department introduced online ordering and delivery to areas that lack fresh food options through its Virtual Supermarket program in 2014, the area’s grocery delivery offerings are getting some big players this year. Target introduced same-day delivery in March.

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Judges rule against HHS for unlawfully ending teen pregnancy prevention grants, but shift to abstinence still underway (Pump Handle)

Earlier this month, another judge rebuked the Trump administration’s attempts to terminate teen pregnancy prevention grants, ruling the decision unlawful and

Leana Wen

One easy, cost-free thing Trump can do to ease the opioid crisis (Washington Post)

In their op-ed, Dr. Wen and Public Citizen President Robert Weissman request the federal government take action and use their authority to reduce prices for the lifesaving drug naloxone.

"They can choose to lower prices and save lives. Or they can choose to perpetuate the rationing of lifesaving treatments and avoid offending Big Pharma at the cost of letting people across the country die for lack of access to affordable, easy-to-use naloxone delivery devices. We should not be priced out of the ability to save lives."

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Maryland is in an opioid addiction crisis; here's what the Democratic candidates for governor would do about it (Baltimore Sun)

Shortly after he was elected, Gov. Larry Hogan convened a high-level task force to address opioid addiction and overdoses in Maryland, and he eventually declared a state of emergency because of the problem. Yet the toll addiction has taken on communities across the state — urban, rural and suburban — remains unabated. The number of overdose deaths in the first three months of 2017 — the most recent data available — is more than double that from the same period in 2014, the year before Mr. Hogan took office. This isn’t just a Maryland problem, of course; addiction and overdoses have skyrocketed nationwide. But the fact remains that what we’re doing about the problem isn’t enough.

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Scope of Addiction Crisis Dwarfs Response to Opioids (CQ Magazine)

Congress faced a startling public health and political problem throughout 2016 as the number of people dying from opioid addiction climbed. 

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Treating Racism as a Public Health Issue (Poverty and Race Research Action Council Newsletter)

In their article, Dr. Wen and Special Assistant to the Commmissioner Narintohn Luangrath discuss health and racial equity and what the Health Department is doing to address health disparities. 

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Leana Wen

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