• OSI Joins Health Commissioner to Launch New Naloxone Portal

    Scott Nolen, director of OSI-Baltimore’s Drug Addiction Treatment program, joined Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leanna Wen yesterday to announce a new web portal, dontdie.org, that makes it easier for Baltimoreans to get the life-saving drug Naloxone. OSI provided funding to build the portal, where users can watch a brief training video, answer a few questions, […]

  • New York Times highlights alternative policing strategies on addiction

    On Sunday, the New York Times ran a long profile of Chief Leonard Campanello of the Gloucester, Massachusetts police department. Campanello has gained national attention for the Angel program that he pioneered, which directs drugs users into detox and treatment programs instead of arresting them. In December, OSI-Baltimore was proud to host Chief Campanello for […]

  • Baltimore launches alternative approach to drug offenders

    On December 24, the Baltimore Sun broke the news about OSI-Baltimore’s new grant to establish the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program in Baltimore with its front-page story, “A new tack on drug abuse” (the online headline is different). “The Baltimore Police Department, working with a local nonprofit organization, is planning an experimental program that […]

  • Health Commissioner Wen testifies about opioid epidemic before Senate committee

    On Tuesday, Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen testified at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Acknowledging that the opioid epidemic is a health crisis that will take smart, creative ideas to fight, Senator Elizabeth Warren highlighted the ANGEL program in Gloucester, Massachusetts implemented by Chief of Police Leonard Campanello. In Gloucester, any […]

  • The Rise of Heroin Use a Concern Nationwide

    In cities and suburbs across America, we are seeing the dire consequences of increases in opioid use, and national leaders are clamoring for answers. Addiction does not differentiate between the young or old, black or white, working class or white-collar professional.

  • Wasted: discharging patients from outpatient treatment

    Maryland’s preparation for the full implementation of health care reform on January 1, 2014 offers an exciting opportunity to make significant changes to our substance abuse treatment system. Open Society Institute-Baltimore and our grantees have spent many hours working to ensure that comprehensive substance abuse services are part of the essential health benefits in Maryland. This is an enormous step forward and will undoubtedly increase the number of individuals who are able to access substance abuse treatment next year.

  • Is chocolate the real gateway drug?

    You’ve probably heard about the term “gateway drug.” Generally, the theory posits, a gateway drug is the first drug a person takes that then leads them on the way to “harsher” drugs and ultimately leads the way to addiction. Recently, a report was published in the Journal of School Health concluding that alcohol is the new gateway drug, displacing marijuana from this infamous label.

  • Make addiction treatment accessible

    The White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy last year came out with the report Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis. Its four central recommendations focused on education, tracking and monitoring, proper medication disposal, and enforcement. This is another glaring example of our 100 years of failed drug policy. Supply reduction has not worked and will not work. If this new “crisis” is truly an epidemic, then there should be a health response to it.

  • Addiction is a disease of cravings

    Addiction is truly a brain disease and not simply a behavior that someone can stop automatically. It is neurochemically driven, and not due to “moral weakness” or lack of “will power.” Unfortunately, it is one of the few chronic diseases where normally caring health care providers treat patients poorly because of misguided notions like “it’s their own fault, they should just stop using drugs.”

  • Preventing homelessness

    Health Care for the Homeless was pleased last month to release a new report exploring the relationships among homelessness, incarceration, and re-entry in Baltimore. Student interns, HCH staff, and dozens of people who have themselves experienced homelessness and incarceration spent long hours listening to more than 400 men and women who had been released from jail or prison within the past ten years.