This Sunday, March 18, at 12:15 pm, Dr. Leana Wen, Commissioner of Health in Baltimore City, will speak at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church about how the faith community and wider community can alleviate suffering due to the opioid crisis, including reducing the stigma around addiction and treating it as a disease. Join us in the sanctuary after the 11:00 am worship service for this free event open to the community. The event will include a:
- 30 minute talk by Dr. Wen and a demonstration of how to use naloxone (also known as Narcan) - a drug that can reverse the effects of an opiod overdose
- 30 minute question and answer session facilitated by Rev. Andrew Foster Conners
As Commissioner of Health in Baltimore City and facing an unprecedented number of people dying from overdose, Dr. Wen has issued a blanket prescription for the opioid antidote, naloxone, which has saved 1,500 lives in two years.
“Addiction is a disease, treatment works, and recovery is possible,” says Dr. Wen. “Research shows that naloxone distribution reduces fatal overdoses without increasing drug use, and that Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), combined with psychosocial supports, are critical to treating opioid addiction. Faith communities can help dispel myths about addiction, fight stigma, and collectively advocate for medical best practices in addressing this epidemic.”
Lynda Burton, chair of Brown Memorial’s Urban Witness committee, which is organizing this event, says, “While there are a wide array of underlying causes of opioid addiction, many at a societal level beyond our reach, we accept that we have an obligation to contribute to solutions. Dr. Wen’s activism has inspired us to examine what we, as individuals and as a faith community, can do to help alleviate the enormous suffering that is occurring in our communities.”
Dr. Wen is a board-certified emergency physician. She was a Rhodes Scholar, Clinical Fellow at Harvard, consultant with the World Health Organization, and professor at George Washington University. She has published more than 100 scientific articles and is the author of the book “When Doctors Don’t Listen.” In 2016, Dr. Wen received the American Public Health Association’s highest award for local public health work.