Friday, June 23, 2017

Not the time to be cutting heroin funding

It's a little hard to conceive, especially in light of what has been happening here in Delaware County the past few weeks, but you would think most people would agree this is not the time to be cutting the funding and programs used to treat heroin addiction.

Apparently not everyone agrees.

Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., believes the Republican health care plan rolled out in the Senate, which includes cuts in Medicaid coverage, will do just that.

You can read our editorial here.

Some thoughts on attacking the heroin problem

After spending much of the last week writing and talking to people about the heroin epidemic that is ravaging so many communities, here's what I think I know.

We're not going to arrest our way out of this crisis.

The key is going to be prevention, and that includes much closer monitoring on how doctors dole out prescription painkillers. We hear again and again about how people with serious injuries and pain start taking pills like Vicodin and Oxycontin with legitimate doctor's prescriptions. But too often the prescription lapses, but the patient's needs do not.

They keep looking for a solution, and too often it takes them out on the street in the hunt for a cheaper alternative - heroin. I also am convinced that we still are barely scratching the surface when it comes to serious treatment for heroin issues. That's one of the things Upper Darby police Superintendent Mike Chitwood has focused on.

And I also had a conversation with someone who knows - who's been through it. He also points at the over-prescribing of pain meds, claiming a majority of these people became addicted to prescribed opiates they received from their doctors as a form of pain relief for injuries such as back, neck, arthritis ailments and others.

More than that, he concurs with Chitwood that the 30-day treatment covered under most insurance plans is woefully inadequate. He says it takes months if not for years to kick the opioid addiction. The standard of 5-7 days of detox, followed by 21 days of outpatient help will not get the job done. Instead, he suggests opioid addicts need a minimum of three months of controlled intensive outpatient treatment in order to re-wire their brain. That needs to be followed up by at least six months at a sober living or halfway house.

Something to think about, especially now that Washington seems hell-bent on slashing Medicaid coverage.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The importance of medical marijuana

In noting that Delaware County got shut out of the medical marijuana bonanza - at least at this point - it's easy to lose track of the fact that this is still a very important program that is going to help a lot of people.

The two licenses for medical marijuana growing-cultivating facilities were both awarded to Berks County operations. The MedGarden LLC application from the McKee family came in third place. It's likely they could get a license in the next round.

In the meantime, let's hope they get this program up and running as soon as possible.

Keep in mind this is not 'weed' that you smoke. These leaves will be made into creams, tinctures and ointments to treat people with serious illnesses.

Let's hope they get it up and running as soon as possible.

You can read our editorial here.

The first rule of baseball

A lifetime ago, I considered myself something of a baseball player.

The truth is I probably had a modicum of talent. But I loved the game. I would play morning, noon and night. I was a very good fielder, could man any position in the infield, and considered myself a fair hitter.

But what I prided myself on was what players refer to as "knowing the game."

It's also part of the respect the game demands.

Any time I am dealing with kids playing ball, I offer this one piece of advice.

If you're in the field, before every pitch ask yourself this question: If this ball is hit to me, what am I going to do with it. Who's on base? How fast are they? How many outs are there? What's the count? Do I have a force-out somewhere.

If you're on base, ask yourself the same question: What am I going to do in this situation? How many outs? The count?

That's why watching this Phillies team is making me so miserable.

They managed to do it again last night. The classic, come-from-ahead loss.

And of course it featured another incredible bone-headed play from a guy who seems to specialize in them. That would be Odubel Herrera.

He ran through a stop sign from third base coach Juan Samuel on a double by Freddy Galvis with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied. It wasn't even close. Herrera was out by 10 feet. So instead of having runners at second and third with two outs, the Phils were headed to extra innings.

Of course, they managed to lose to the Cardinals, 7-6. Hard to believe that at one point in the game they led, 5-0.

Herrera was pulled from the game in a double-switch.

The loss dropped the Phils to 22-48, 26 games under .500.

After the game he said he was playing "aggressive."

"I wanted to win the game, I put my head down and kept running," Herrera said."

Playing hard is admirable. It's something this Phillies team doesn't too enough.

But you also have to play smart. Herrera has to know the situation, and know that he can't make the last out at the plate.

I know that. A lot of people do.

My question is why doesn't Herrera, and so many other Phillies, and I guess a lot of major leaguers.

I learned it on the sandlot.

Herrera is learning it at Citizens Bank Park, while being paid millions.

What's wrong with this picture?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Delco shut out in 1st round of medical marijuana licenses

Hope you weren't already banking on an economic bonanza from the arrival of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

Delaware County got shut out yesterday as the state doled out the first 12 licenses for medical marijuana growing and processing licenses.

There were two entities in the county who submitted applications, including one fronted by the McKee family, well-known builders, from Aston Township.

That does not mean Delco will be shut out entirely.

There will be another round of licenses handed out next year.

And in a couple of weeks, the state will be awarding licenses for the dispensaries that will actually sell the medical marijuana.

You can read our full story here.

Keeping guns away from those who hate

We seem to be swimming in hate.

That seemed evident in the screeds and rantings left behind by James Hodgkinson. He's the Left-leaning zealot who professed hatred for Donald Trump and Republicans before opening fire on a group of GOP congressmen as they held baseball practice on a field in Alexandra, Va.

How to attack this kind of hate is debatable.

What should not be - again - is that people with that kind of hair-trigger temperament probably should not have access to guns. Sen. Robert Casey was in the area this week to again push legislation, the Disarm Hate Act, that would ban anyone convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime from buying or possessing a gun.

Would it have prevented Hodgkinson from going over the edge and deciding to use Republicans as target practice. Maybe not.

But we still feel it's a good idea.

Dealing with hate is likely going to take a little longer.

You can read our editorial here.

Summer is over for Phillies fans

Welcome to the first day of summer.

Congratulations, you survived another winter. And another wet, cool spring.

Bring on those lazy, hazy crazy, days of summer.

Unless, of course, you're a Phillies fan.

For you, summer is over.

Yes, even before it began.

This morning, on the first day of summer, your Fightin' Phils find themselves 25 games under .500, 20 games back in the National League East.

This comes after another of their special collapses last night, giving up 7 runs in the 11th to fall to the Cardinals, 8-1. You want to declare a moral victory in that the Phils managed to hang dead even with the Redbirds for 9 innings, be my guest. Me? I'm taking this personally.

These Phillies have robbed me of one of my most prized rites of summer. Oh, I still retreat to the deck when I get home at night, hoping to squeeze out the last few drops of sunlight.

But I am hard-pressed to take my little radio with me so as to listen to the Phils.

They don't seem to care, why should I.

Well, I guess it still beats listening to Chris Matthews talk over his guests on 'Hardball.'

The Phillies are now 22-47. They have won one game in two weeks.

A week ago young GM Matt Klentak was telling us Michael Saunders could heat up and "carry this team on his back for a month." Yesterday Saunders, given a guaranteed $9 million deal by Klentak as one of his big off-season acquisitions, was carrying his bags to the door, designated for assignment by the team. Saunders hit .205 with six home runs and 20 RBIs in 61 games. He struck out 51 times. He was joined by struggling reliever Jeanmar Gomez.

But Klentak did not call up any of his high-profile young players for a shot at 'The Show.'

Instead he tapped outfielder Cam Perkins and left-hander Hoby Milner from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Those IronPigs, by the way, continue to be red-hot, leading the minors.

Maybe we should adopt them for the summer.

Because aside from that, for Phillies fans, summer is over.

Even before it began.