News Coverage

Trump to issue opioid 'emergency' declaration. Maryland leaders hope it prompts real change. (Baltimore Sun)

“A state of emergency is long overdue,” said Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, a national voice on the issue. “Imagine if this was ebola and there were over 100 people dying a day. There’d be no question.”

To read the story, click here.

Leana Wen

Trump declares opioids 'public health emergency,'; Commissioner Wen urges stronger action (Baltimore Business Journal)

The Trump Administration declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency on Thursday. But Baltimore's Health Commissioner said that's not enough.

To read the story, click here.

President Trump’s 'state of emergency' — a health commissioner's perspective (The Hill)

On Thursday, President Trump announced that he was declaring the opioid epidemic to be a public health emergency, rather than a national state of emergency. For access to the complete story click here.

Leana Wen

Dr. Wen Discusses BCHD Efforts to Reduce Health Disparities on WBAL-TV

Dr. Leana Wen appeared on WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore on Sunday, October 15 to discuss how BCHD is working to decrease health disparities in Baltimore.

For access to the complete interview, click here

Leana Wen

Dr. Leana Wen Interviewed on Matter of Fact

Dr. Leana Wen was interviewed by Soledad O'Brien on Matter of Fact on Sepember 13, 2017 about the opioid crisis. WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore televised the interview live. You can view it here.

Leana WenOpioid

Declare a true state of emergency (The Hill)

Several weeks ago, President Trump stated that the opioid crisis was a “national emergency.” To many of us in public health, it was a confusing statement. Just a few days earlier, the president and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price stated that they would not declare a state of emergency, claiming that emergencies are time-bound and resource-finite situations.

As an emergency physician and Commissioner of Health in Baltimore City — where approximately two people a day die from overdose — I can tell you that is not the case. Addiction is a disease, treatment exists and communities around the country are succeeding in fighting the epidemic.

Read the entire story.

 

Leana WenOpioid

Federal funding cut to teen pregnancy prevention programs will hurt Baltimore, health commissioner says (BaltimoreSun)

The Trump administration’s decision to cut short a grant program that would have spent $214 million to support teen pregnancy prevention programs will have far-reaching consequences in cities across the United States, including Baltimore. After the program ends next June, the city will lose the equivalent of $3.5 million in funding for a variety of programs aimed at curtailing unintended teen pregnancies. Another $880,000 grant funds research at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health to evaluate a program to reduce sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy among American Indian teens, City Health Commissioner Leana Wen called the decision shocking and “unprecedented.” “We have not ever received a cut to an existing program without explanation, and when the funds were readily available,” she said.

Read the entire story.

An Assault on Efforts to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy (NyTimes)

With flimsy justification, and in small type buried in routine documents, the Trump administration has informed 81 local governments and health groups that it will end grants they have received to run teen pregnancy prevention programs, two years before the grants are scheduled to end. The decision is unsettling even by the disquieting standards of this anti-science administration.

The rate at which teenagers have babies in the United States fell by nearly 50 percent between 2007 and 2015, though it is still higher than in other industrialized countries. A lot of the credit for the decline belongs to health and education officials who have been coming up with new approaches to educate young people about sex and get them to make better decisions. One such effort was the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, created by Congress and implemented by the Obama administration in 2010. It provides five-year grants, in annual distributions, to cities, counties and health organizations to operate and evaluate public health programs aimed at teenagers. Funding for a second round of grants began in 2015, but it will now expire in 2018 instead of 2020.

The department that runs the program, Health and Human Services, made no effort initially to explain its decision, which was tucked into a routine grant letter earlier this summer. The decision came before Congress has even voted on appropriations for the next fiscal year, which begins in October. By cutting the grants short, the department is depriving recipients of about $200 million.

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Abrupt Trump cuts to teen pregnancy program surprise groups (The Hill)

The Trump administration has abruptly cut short grant programs aimed at ending teen pregnancy, leaving the institutions that receive the funds scrambling for answers. 

An office within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified 81 institutions across the U.S. that the five-year grants they were awarded would end two years sooner than planned.

The Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program, a national program created in 2010 under former President Barack Obama, funds organizations working to reduce and prevent teen pregnancy, with a focus on reaching populations with the greatest need.

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How many more Americans must die before Trump declares a state of emergency? (The Hill)


Earlier this week, President Trump tweeted that he will be holding “a major briefing on the opioid crisis, a major problem for our country.” Many of us in the public health community held out hope that this briefing would include a declaration of a national state of emergency, as recommended by the president’s own Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

No such declaration was made. At a time when 142 Americans per day die from overdose, it begs the question: How much worse does this epidemic need to get before it rises to the level of an emergency? Imagine if there were 142 people dying every day from a disease like Ebola or a natural disaster like a hurricane — there would be no question about the necessity of such a declaration.

Read the entire story

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