Charleston’s program received national recognition but was criticized by the city’s mayor when Dr. Gupta was the health commissioner. Dr. Gupta issued an audit that found errors in the program, including poor records, which led to the program being decertified after the city closed it.
Public health experts said the shutdown had a chilling effect on other programs and prevented some from getting underway.
As a state health officer, Dr. Gupta has no power to stop the closure. In a 2018 interview with West Virginia Public Broadcasting just before he left the health commissioner job, Dr. Gupta that the closure is “not in the best interests of the community” and that needle exchange programs like the one in Charleston should not be “reactively” halted.
But critics accused him of not using his platform vigorously enough to get the Program.
Gregg Gonsalves, Yale University epidemiologist and longtime AIDS activist, named Dr. Gupta on Tuesday a “terrible election” that is “a return to the old ways of thinking about drug use in America and is not the forward-looking leader.” we need now. “
Other experts said that Dr. Gupta got into a difficult situation with the fight over the syringe exchange. Mr. Raymond referred to Dr. Gupta, while describing the Charleston program shutdown as “a tragedy”, an “excellent choice”. This assessment was made by Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, a public health expert at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who with Dr. Gupta worked together to address the West Virginia opioid crisis, affirmed.
“He knows the value of syringe service programs, he understands the harm reduction evidence and is very supportive,” said Dr. Sharpstein. “West Virginia is a very difficult environment to discuss these issues, and it has had to navigate within these constraints.”
The White House announced the election of Dr. Gupta, along with 10 other nominations, including that of Jeff Flake, the former Republican Senator from Arizona, for Ambassador to Turkey and that of the writer Atul Gawande for a position at the US Agency for International Development.