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CDC Director promises to "bring the opioid epidemic" to its knees



NEW YORK – New Chief Executive Officer of the US Department of Health has pledged on Thursday to work to "bring the nation's opioid epidemic" to its knees, saying he believes in AIDS Epidemic ended in three to seven years. Robert Redfield Jr. made the comments at a staff meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Redfield began work on Monday, less than a week after his appointment.

The 66-year-old rose in prominence in the 1

980s as a top researcher for the emerging AIDS epidemic. The health advocates largely praised his appointment, but many are skeptical of a government that has been criticized for criticism of the universally accepted science on climate change and other issues.

Redfield has rejected media interviews since he's CDC director

During the 50-minute staff meeting at CDC on Thursday, Redfield said he firmly believes in Vaccines and other public health prevention strategies Diseases and to prevent its spread.

He called the opioid-driven surge in overdose deaths "the public health crisis of our time," and he emphasized the importance of treating drug addicts and improving the CDC's tracking of the epidemic. "We will help bring this epidemic to its knees," he said.

He also talked about his decades of work in AIDS research and treatment. " The termination of the AIDS epidemic in America is possible," he said. "I think it can be done in the next three to seven years if we focus our thoughts on it."

He also shared personal stories. One was how his mother raised him and his younger brother and sister after the death of his father, a government scientist, at the age of 32. Another was the death of his own son due to complications related to the birth.

Redfield – who appeared with his wife, Joy – seemed warmly welcomed, greeted by frequent laughter and applause.

The meeting was in a CDC auditorium, but it was also broadcast on the Internet and over the phone to employees who could not attend. An Associated Press reporter listened.

Redfield was a finalist for the CDC director in 2002, but instead the task was assigned to Dr. Ing. Julie Gerberding. On Thursday he said he was "stifled" because he finally got the opportunity to run CDC.

"My job is to help you make yours," he said. "I want to thank each of you for agreeing to have faith in my leadership."

He said little about some controversy that occurred last week when he announced his appointment.

He did not talk about an episode that made more headlines than two decades ago when he was investigated for overestimating the effectiveness of an experimental AIDS vaccine

and he said little about his earlier writings on the importance of Abstinence as a Strategy to Prevent AIDS Compared to Public Health Strategies Condoms and distribution of needles to injecting drug addicts. In anticipation of the book "Christians in the Age of Aids" by Shepherd and Anita Moreland Smith, he urged readers to "refuse false prophets preaching condoms and free needles quick fixation strategies"

During the meeting on Thursday, Redfield said : "I've never been a abstinence person, ask my wife."

The Atlanta-based CDC investigates outbreaks, explores the cause and frequency of health issues, and promotes prevention. It has nearly 12,000 employees and 10,000 contractors worldwide.

Redfield was formerly a professor of medical school at the University of Maryland, where he co-founded the Institute of Human Virology. He has extensive experience in treating HIV patients and heroin addicts and has been praised for his work in Maryland on the opioid crisis.

Redfield replaced Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, a Trump Administrator, resigned in January after about six months in office. Fitzgerald, who had previously headed Georgia's Ministry of Health, was involved in unresolved financial conflicts. Finally, HHS officials said their investments influenced their ability to engage in issues such as cancer and the opioid crisis.

© 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.


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