This morning, OSI-Baltimore director Diana Morris joined Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen to announce a $200,000 grant to support the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) combat overdose deaths and reduce the stigma surrounding addiction. The grant will fund a rapid response team to help target outreach in real time when overdoses are reported in the city. It will also be used to develop a public education campaign to fight the stigma of addiction by encouraging people to think of addiction as a public health issue rather than a criminal one.
Citing Governor Hogan declaring a “State of Emergency” in Baltimore due to the opioid overdose crisis this past spring, Morris said that now is the time for key stakeholders in the city to “begin to think innovatively about how to address this epidemic,” because, she continued, “in many cases, the status quo is simply not working.”
OSI has worked with the Health Department to combat the City’s overdose epidemic for nearly 20 years, establishing an overdose prevention program to train opioid users, who are at the greatest risk for an overdose, to administer naloxone, the life-saving opioid antidote medication. Read more about our longstanding history with BCHD here.
Last week, Morris appeared on WYPR to discuss the need for the grant with Sheilah Kast’s show On the Record. You can listen to the podcast here.