In June of 2016, we sat down with Dr. Tom Gilson, the nationally known medical examiner from Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Hoping it might inform and help others, Dr. Gilson reviewed Sam McNeil’s report from the medical examiner of Palm Beach County.
Today, we revisit that discussion and uncover how some communities, such as the Baltimore Department of Health, are studying overdose victims to discover new prevention strategies to impede the opioid epidemic.
Also joining us today is Brittney Spencer, the Overdose Fatality Review (OFR) Coordinator for the Maryland Department of Health. Ms. Spencer and her team have been fighting the opioid epidemic since 2014, researching the autopsy reports, treatment admission reports, police reports, and medical records of overdose victims to identify missed opportunities for prevention.
This research helps the OFR collaborate with stakeholders to develop new programs for overdose prevention. These programs save lives and prevent substance use disorder in the future.
The OFR team has learned much from studying the opioid epidemic’s effect on their community. Through their efforts, this one team from Baltimore provides the framework for strategies and programs such as Levels of Care, EMS Leave Behind, and LEAD. Together, these resources provide the necessary response tools to influence and impact the worst health crisis in our country’s history.
Listen to today’s podcast for a detailed breakdown of Maryland’s impact against the opioid crisis, with Brittney Spencer.
In our three-part series with American Overdose author, Chris McGreal, we took an in-depth look at some of the policies and practices of the FDA that helped lead to our nation’s worst health crisis in history. During the series, I spoke with the former chair of the FDA advisory committee, who’s role is to review and advise on drugs under consideration for approval by the FDA. I was surprised by his responses to my questions, rejecting the notion that mistakes were made, despite the number of deaths the opioids approved during his tenure caused. My take away from this interview was that the FDA is stuck in an inflexible mindset, and has made no attempt to rectify the impact the opioid crisis has had on our country over the last twenty years. Unsettled, I decided to dig a little deeper to find out if my impressions were representative of the today’s FDA. To help me answer that question is Dr. Raeford Brown, who for the last five years has been the chair of the FDA’s anesthetic and analgesic drug products advisory committee. Listen to today’s podcast for insight into the FDA’s policies and practices from the inside, with Dr. Raeford Brown.