News Coverage

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.” 

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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.

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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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Breastfeeding: get over it (The Daily Campus)

There has been a long standing stigma surrounding the topic of breastfeeding in public. People, most often men, have found this to be too tantalizing, sexual and overall distracting for them to go about their daily lives. Breastfeeding is a natural occurrence. It is a mother feeding her baby breakfast, lunch or dinner. Most people wouldn’t respond well if they were approached when eating and told that the way they were eating was too sexual or distracting and that they should eat somewhere “more private.” This is just a fraction of the nonsense people put breastfeeding mothers through.

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How Can It Be National Wellness Month When There is an Opioid Crisis? (The Afro)

In their op-ed, Kevin Daniels and Anthony Estreet focus on the gravity of the opioid epidemic and the need for more action.

"According to Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City Health Commissioner, Even with interventions in place, we have not even seen where the peak of the epidemic is going to be and there appears to be no end in sight – we don’t know how much worse the problem is going to get.” We are clearly in a state of emergency."

Read the entire story.

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Drug users will be given free needles in Merced under new program (Merced Sun-Star)

A program in Merced will soon provide clean needles to drug users in an attempt to reduce the transfer of diseases, according to doctors.

Needle-exchange programs have shown some success. When Baltimore’s program launched more than 20 years ago, 63 percent of those with HIV were IV drug users. By 2014, the only 7 percent were IV drug users, contributing to one of the nation’s largest drops in new HIV cases, according to the Baltimore Sun.

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