Public Citizen and Baltimore City Health Department Will Urge Trump Administration to Expand Access to Opioid Addiction Treatment

April 30, 2018

Public Citizen and Baltimore City Health Department Will Urge Trump Administration to Expand Access to Opioid Addiction Treatment

WHAT: Press conference at which Public Citizen and the Baltimore City Health Department will call on the Trump administration to take actions to ensure expanded access to naloxone, an opioid overdose antidote. The city and Public Citizen will outline steps the administration should take to challenge pharmaceutical companies and ensure naloxone truly is accessible during a public health epidemic.

The Surgeon General has called for expanded access to naloxone for people struggling with addiction and those around them. Experts say that dispensing naloxone should be as easy as pulling a fire alarm. The city of Baltimore has been aggressive in combatting the opioid crisis. In 2015, the health commissioner’s standing order offered a blanket prescription for naloxone to all 620,000 city residents. In addition, the health department supplies naloxone to residents through community trainings and outreach, as well as through partnerships with community groups. But the city cannot afford all the naloxone needed, so it is having to ration its supply, prioritizing distribution to individuals at highest risk of overdose.

The Trump administration has the authority under existing law to expand access to this life-saving treatment in Baltimore and communities around the country that have been hit hard by the opioid crisis. Since 2015, everyday Baltimore residents have saved more than 1,800 lives with naloxone. Baltimore first responders have saved more than 10,000 lives over the same time period. The Baltimore City Health Department can afford to purchase about 13,000 naloxone nasal spray kits, known as Narcan, annually, but would need twice that number to have enough kits for every resident with an opioid use disorder, let alone enough for their families and loved ones.

WHEN: 10 a.m. ET Thursday, May 3

WHERE: Zenger Room, National Press Club
529 14th St NW, Washington, D.C.

WHO: Dr. Leana Wen, health commissioner, city of Baltimore
Amy Collier, director, Community Services Division for Catholic Charities of Baltimore
Nathan Fields, health educator, Baltimore City Health Department
Perry Hopkins, overdose survivor revived by naloxone
Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen

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