A pay-to-play system has developed between state-licensed cannabis
operators and municipal governments across the country for local
zoning. The same model has quickly materialized in Pennsylvania, and
now one town has gone too far.
Muhlenberg Township in Berks County was trying to squeeze a dispensary
- - Franklin Bioscience LLC - for 5 percent of its annual profits.
The issue was revealed when the Pennsylvania Department of Health
released a letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer from medical-marijuana
program director John Collins to the company's CEO, Andrew Weiss,
allowing the dispensary to relocate after getting pressured for the
cash. Collins wrote:
[continues 654 words]
Democrat Larry Krasner, the front-runner to become Philadelphia's next
district attorney, says he supports city-sanctioned spaces where
people addicted to heroin can inject drugs under medical supervision
and access treatment, a move advocates see as a promising step toward
making the city the first in the U.S. to open such a site.
His Republican opponent, Beth Grossman, says she's open to discussions
on the matter.
For those on the front lines of the heroin crisis in Philadelphia,
both are encouraging stances in a political arena where the idea can
still be dismissed out of hand. But recently, cities across the
country have begun to consider the possibility of instituting
supervised injection sites; several nations, including Canada, have
used the approach for years.
[continues 898 words]
Federal interference with Pennsylvania's medical-marijuana program
would "force more suffering on some of our most vulnerable
constituents," Gov. Wolf said in a letter to Rep. Charlie Dent (R.,
Pa.), who serves on the House Appropriations Committee.
Wolf is alarmed that Congress could eliminate a provision in an
appropriations bill that for four years has prohibited federal
agencies from cracking down on the implementation of state-approved
The states considered the provision, known as the Rohrabacher
amendment, as tacit protection that gave them permission to launch
their cannabis programs.
[continues 349 words]
With Pennsylvania teetering on the edge of another budget cliff, it is
immensely clear to me that we must get creative in finding long-term
revenue solutions to prevent total financial collapse.
Last month, as a short-term fix to the state's cash-flow woes, I
cosigned a $750 million loan from Treasury's Short Term Investment
Pool. That loan cost the state $141,000 in interest.
What's more, Treasurer Joe Torsella is forecasting the state's general
fund balance will hit negative $1.6 billion by mid-September. This is
[continues 722 words]
In a decision that could change the way future medical marijuana
permits are awarded in Pennsylvania, the state has ordered the Pa.
Department of Health to reveal the identities of the panelists who
determined the winners to grow and distribute cannabis products.
The Pa. Department of Health in June awarded 12 permits to grow and
process marijuana and 27 permits to distribute the medicines in a
process that many of the unsuccessful applicants criticized as
A secret panel, comprised of about a dozen Pennsylvania state
employees, reviewed and scored hundreds of lengthy applications for
the potentially lucrative business permits, following a model
originally set by New Jersey. Other states have followed different
selection processes. Ohio, for example, hired an Atlanta-based
consultant to determine its winners, according to Cleveland.com.
[continues 163 words]
Not one of the growers had any prior experience cultivating the plant,
which grows so quickly it's nicknamed "weed." So some problems were to
be expected. However, nobody anticipated one complication.
"We had some projects that really did everything right, but were
completely overrun by weeds," -- real weeds, said Russell Redding, the
state's Secretary of Agriculture. "You'd have fields that were
beautifully green, but overwhelmed by unwanted species."
Sometimes knowledge is hard-won, even in a state with a long history
of cultivation dating back to the colonial era and more than a dozen
school districts named "Hempfield."
[continues 861 words]
Northampton County's drug forfeiture program netted $132,000 last
year, the district attorney's office announced.
Northampton County's drug forfeiture program seized more than $132,000
in the past year, on par with other years despite heightened scrutiny
of the practice nationwide.
In the fiscal year ending June 30, the program brought in $122,000 in
cash, plus $9,900 from the sale of forfeited vehicles, District
Attorney John Morganelli announced.
The proceeds represented an increase from the $112,000 averaged in the
four previous years. But they were well short of the program's record
in fiscal 2011, when $283,000 was seized.
[continues 453 words]
Political opposition could derail a medical marijuana dispensary
slated to open early next year in Philadelphia's East Mount Airy
A zoning hearing Tuesday morning attracted a sizable crowd, including
people from eight neighborhood churches among others aiming to force
East Mount Airy's TerraVida Holistic Centers dispensary to fold before
In March, the city granted a zoning permit to TerraVida to operate on
the 8300 block of Stenton Avenue at Allens Lane. In June, the state
Department of Health awarded the company a highly coveted license to
sell cannabis-derived oils, tinctures and lotions at the former bank
building, which sits on a commercial corridor that includes a small
strip mall, two gas stations, and a Rite Aid pharmacy. Only four
dispensary permits were slated for the state's most populous city,
though more could be added.
[continues 275 words]
Cleanup of the Gurney Street railroad gulch in Fairhill, a campground
for heroin users and a dumping site for needles and garbage, didn't
start Monday as was initially planned.
The city came to an agreement with Conrail last month to fence and
clean up the property. A contract calls for work to start by July 31,
but Conrail planned to start work Monday.
Jocelyn Hill, a spokeswoman for Conrail, said that fabricating the
fencing that will secure the area took longer than anticipated and
that the company had hired a second contractor to speed things up. She
said the work still will begin before July 31.
[continues 167 words]
Within the murky online corners of the so-called Dark Net, drug
dealers emphasize the best way to send their goods across the United
States is not via FedEx, UPS, or another private mail carrier, but
through the U.S Postal Service.
Last year, up to 59,000 opioid-related deaths occurred, making those
narcotics the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of
50. Many of the deaths were attributed to synthetic opioids, which
have flooded the market through mail orders from China using USPS.
[continues 440 words]
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Pennsylvania state government is not measuring
the effectiveness of many of its addiction treatment programs that can
be helpful in the fight against the epidemic of heroin and
prescription drug overdoses, auditors said Thursday.
The audit launched last year by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale
recommends that three state agencies -- the departments of Human
Services, Corrections and Drug and Alcohol Programs -- do more to
assess whether their addiction treatment programs are successful in
curing people. It also warns that more money is needed to fund the
[continues 317 words]
Chris and I were texting Dec. 11, 2016, when at 3:50 p.m. he went
I assumed it was because we were arguing. We were always arguing, ever
since his addiction had taken over his life. The signs were there: The
man who would write beautiful songs on his guitar became sluggish and
angry. He wouldn't spend time with the people who lifted him up and
instead sneaked out to see those who enabled his addiction. He stopped
going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings and group therapy.
[continues 812 words]
Allentown's first licensed medical marijuana dispensary features a
partnership between a fifth-generation Lehigh Valley native and a
big-time medical cannabis company that has helped secure more than 50
licenses in states across the country.
Mission Partners LLC, a subsidiary of Phoenix-based management
consulting firm 4Front Ventures, hopes to open its first Mission
Pennsylvania dispensary early next year in a building at 2733 W.
Emmaus Ave., Allentown, that currently houses MP Outfitters.
One of Mission Pennsylvania's principals is Ari Molovinsky, a 1997
Parkland High School graduate whose father, Michael, lives in South
Whitehall Township and operates the "Molovinsky on Allentown" blog.
[continues 1051 words]
Walk into a medical marijuana dispensary in New Jersey and the first
thing to hit you is the stink.
Weed's scent is a sour blast that seems to reek of citrus, diesel, and
skunk. At the Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge, Middlesex County,
charcoal air purifiers -- encased in gleaming steel and larger than
jet engines -- are strategically placed through the facility. It's
hard to say whether their presence tempers the odor, which is
generated by thousands of cannabis plants growing under lights in the
[continues 707 words]
A Philadelphia city councilwoman says she will try to block a medical
marijuana dispensary from being located in her East Mount Airy district.
"This is not a debate about the merits of medical marijuana -- which
the community and I both support -- but it is solely about the
proposed use at this location," Parker said in a statement, citing
concerns about public safety and security. "I remain vehemently
opposed to this site."
State Rep. Chris Rabb (D., Phila.), who lives four blocks from the
proposed dispensary, said he was happy to have one in the
neighborhood. But Rabb said he believes the two-story structure is
"specifically an awful location."
[continues 278 words]
Medical marijuana permits leave losers fuming in Pa.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health today announced the names and
locations of companies that will be permitted to sell medical
marijuana in the state.
The reveal came in a news release issued Thursday at 1:15 p.m..
Each of the 27 winners have the right to operate three storefronts.
Though there were 81 dispensaries allowed by law, many applicants
chose not to ask for additional outlets. As it stands, only 52 will
open sometime next year.
[continues 287 words]
In fact, since decriminalization took effect, police have cited 73
percent fewer people than they arrested for possessing weed during the
same time period in the year prior to decriminalization.
And if mayoral candidate Jim Kenney has his way, citations for
marijuana users may become a thing of the past, too.
"I'm not interested in issuing citations, either. We'll get to that
conversation at the appropriate time next year," Kenney told the Daily
News. "As time goes on, I don't know if there's going to be a need for
any kind of punishment."
[continues 1129 words]
As Pennsylvania prepares to award its first licenses for the fledgling
medical marijuana industry, Lehigh University intends to partner with
one of the potential growers in the Lehigh Valley to study the effect
of the drug on children with autism.
As Pennsylvania prepares to award its first licenses for the fledgling
medical marijuana industry, Lehigh University intends to partner with
one of the potential growers in the Lehigh Valley to study the effect
of the drug on children with autism. (Glen Stubbe/AP File Photo)
[continues 1377 words]
Before she died in April, Awilda was the Community Engagement
Coordinator at Impact Services Corporation and a tireless champion of
Kensington and its residents. Awilda would have loved the Inquirer
articles touting the amazing work the librarians at McPherson do every
day, but she would have been crushed to see the park described as
Needle Park and the neighborhood called a "hellscape."
Calling it Needle Park perpetuates a story about Kensington that
reduces everyone here to victims or criminals, further instilling a
sense of hopelessness. Awilda worked hard to change the narrative of
Kensington so that people would recognize the vibrancy of her
neighborhood and the strong spirit of its residents. Her work was part
of a collaborative strategy to build collective strength and support a
robust social network throughout the community.
[continues 416 words]
It marked the first time in 80 years that the cousin of cannabis, once
a common cash crop in the state of Pennsylvania, had been legally sown
in the state.
"We would have like to have planted it a few weeks ago, but the seeds
- from Italy and Canada - were held up in customs," said Diana Martin,
spokeswoman for the Rodale Institute in Berks County.
Research scientist Emmanuel Mondi oversees planting near Kutztown on
June 9, 2017. It marked the first time the plant has been legally sown
in 80 years.
[continues 213 words]
Mayor Kenney and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration will lead
a community summit Saturday to address the opioid epidemic in
Philadelphia's Fairhill and West Kensington neighborhoods, epicenter of
addiction in the region.
The summit, called "El Barrio Es Nuestro" ("The Community Is Ours"), will
give residents a chance to speak in English or Spanish about
quality-of-life issues with key city officials, including members of the
mayor's recently launched Task Force to Combat the Opioid Epidemic.
"This neighborhood is one of the worst-hit areas in the entire country,"
Gary Tuggle, the DEA's special agent in charge of the Philadelphia field
division, said. "By bringing together health, law enforcement, and
community leaders, we hope to come up with a solution."
[continues 96 words]
[photo] Chris Goldstein, right, shakes hands with police top brass after
meeting at La Colombe to discuss his planned "smoke-in" protest on Friday
in Rittenhouse Square. (Julia Terruso / Staff)
Members of the Philadelphia Police Department's top brass met with
marijuana activists Thursday to hash out how pot citations will be issued
at a protest planned for Friday.
"So we'll have everyone light up and then line up," said Nikki Allen Poe,
talking with members of the Police Department at a corner table at La
Colombe coffee shop at Dilworth Park, "and then you'll do the arr-."
[continues 432 words]
[photo] It's been reported that President-elect Donald Trump has tapped
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as his attorney general pick. Sessions has been
a vocal opponent of the marijuana industry. (Scott Olson/ AP)
President-elect Donald Trump's announcement that he plans to nominate
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions -- a vocal opponent of marijuana legalization
- -- to be the country's next attorney general has many in the young but
growing legalized marijuana industry deeply concerned.
That includes in Pennsylvania, which legalized medical marijuana this
spring. The state is expected to begin accepting applications for medical
cannabis grower/processor and dispenser permits early next year, with the
goal of making medical marijuana available to patients by 2018.
[continues 889 words]
A group of Northumberland County-based entrepreneurs hope to weed out the
competition and get one of the two available licenses for operating a
medical marijuana dispensary in the Valley.
The main principals of Medical Marijuana Corp. are William E. Rosini,
president of Rosini Enterprises, and Shannon D. Rosini, both of Paxinos;
Annette Rosini MacLachlan, a former county resident now living in West
Chester; Stephen Jacobs, of Shamokin and Christopher Walters, of Mount
The state is offering permits for growers and dispensaries in each of six
regions across the state.
[continues 501 words]
A California company hopes to grow medical marijuana in Pocono Township.
The company, CannaMed of Thousand Oaks, has asked the Monroe County
township's Board of Supervisors to clarify its zoning definitions to allow
it to start up a processing operation, PennLive.com reported.
A company representative recently told supervisors the building, would be
about 45,000 square feet and would grow the marijuana and process it into
forms including pills and oils.
The company expects to employ between 30 to 50 people.
[continues 123 words]
[photo] Addy Schultz, 72, cuddling a baby going through opioid withdrawal
at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, ( DAVID SWANSON / Staff
Marie McCullough covers health and medicine, with a special focus on
cancer and women's health issues.
Study suggests prevention efforts are having an effect on melanoma in Pa.,
As the 13-day-old infant scrunched up his face and squirmed in obvious
pain, Addy Schultz tightened her embrace. The baby relaxed in her arms
"When he cramps up, I hold him harder and pat a little firmer," explained
Schultz, 72, sitting in a rocking chair in the newborn intensive care unit
at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. "They don't like to be stroked or
[continues 869 words]
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Thursday that
Congressional Republicans are on a "rescue" mission to repeal and replace
the Affordable Care Act and that he and President-elect Donald Trump are
in perfect sync with the process of replacing Obamacare. (CHIP
Funding for mental illness and opioid addiction treatment in Pennsylvania
will take a big hit if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, according to
research published this week by Harvard Medical School.
More than 181,000 Pennsylvania residents with mental and substance abuse
disorders will lose access to services made available under the ACA,
concluded Harvard health economics professor Richard G. Frank and New York
University public service dean Sherry Glied.
[continues 845 words]
Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan is dangerous
for the health and economic well-being of our Commonwealth. A new Harvard
Medical School and New York University study shows that repealing the ACA
would have tragic consequences for millions of Americans affected by
mental illness and by the devastating opioid epidemic. 180,526
Pennsylvanians suffering from mental illness or substance use disorder
will lose access to critical mental health services that the ACA makes
Pennsylvania ranks among the highest in the nation in opioid
overdose-related deaths and prescribing rates. Nationwide, the study
estimates that more than 4 million Americans with serious mental illness
or substance use disorders, of whom about 222,000 have an opioid use
disorder, would lose some or all of their insurance coverage.
[continues 514 words]
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, center, arrives in the Assembly chamber of
the Statehouse to deliver his State Of The State address Tuesday, Jan. 10,
2017, in Trenton, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
TRENTON - Gov. Christie vowed Tuesday to devote his final year in office
to battling drug addiction, skirting other challenges confronting New
Jersey as he delivered an unusual and impassioned State of the State
address focused almost exclusively on the issue.
Telling personal stories of people affected by addiction - a state
employee whose son died from a heroin overdose two days after she
celebrated his sobriety at a Statehouse vigil; the son of a state Supreme
Court justice, now in recovery and opening a treatment center - Christie
said he hoped to make New Jersey an example for the nation on drug
[continues 916 words]
(AP Photo/Mel Evans) Gov. Christie, holding hands with daughter Sarah
Christie, as wife Mary Pat Christie follows, leaves the Assembly chamber
of the Statehouse after he delivered his State Of The State address
Tuesday in Trenton.
TRENTON - When Haddonfield native AJ Solomon graduated from college in
2012, he landed a job with a longtime family friend: Gov. Christie.
But Solomon, who had abused painkillers and since become a heroin addict,
was spinning out of control, buying dope in Camden on his way to the
Statehouse. By 2014, he left an Arizona treatment center intent on flying
home, saying goodbye to his parents, and killing himself.
[continues 687 words]
Overdose Deaths Up Sharply in Pa.
Drug-related fatalities rose 23.4 percent in Pennsylvania last year,
the Drug Enforcement Administration's Philadelphia Division reports in
its second annual statewide analysis. Previous years' data come from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also relies on
death certificates from coroners' offices but has not yet released
U.S. or any state numbers for 2015.
The Drug Enforcement Administration found big differences by county.
County numbers can change significantly from year to year, so
short-term trends may not be meaningful.
[graphic, http://www.philly.com/philly/infographics/386564601.html ]
A part-time Donora police officer has been arrested for stealing 133 stamp
bags of heroin that were seized as evidence after the execution of a
James B. Johnson V, 29, of Monongahela, was charged Tuesday with several
drug offenses, theft, obstruction, tampering and misapplication of
The charges were announced today by the Washington County district
Authorities accused Officer Johnson of stealing the evidence following an
Aug. 10 seizure.
Police said Officer Johnson admitted to the theft and said he took the
heroin "for his personal consumption."
[continues 250 words]
[photo] (JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer) Mayor Jim Kenney speaks to
the media after attending a meeting about the task force he's asked to
develop a plan to address the opioid crisis in Philadelphia, the meeting
took place at 801 Market Street, January 11, 2017.
Drug overdose deaths in Philadelphia surged to 900 last year - nearly a 30
percent increase in a single year - as the nation continued to grapple
with an epidemic of opioid use and abuse.
City health officials Wednesday announced the numbers as Mayor Kenney
convened a 16-member task force comprised of health and law officials.
[continues 421 words]
Last weekend's frightening and widely reported string of overdoses in
Philadelphia - nine deaths in 36 hours, according to police - was just
part of what officials suspect was a devastating five days that left 35
It started Dec. 1, when 12 people died between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. "We have
never seen that before," said Sam P. Gulino, the city's chief medical
Then came four more deaths last Friday, seven on Saturday, nine on Sunday,
and three on Monday. The total could still rise, as deaths that initially
appeared natural are investigated for drug links.
[continues 825 words]
[photo] (ED HILLE / Staff Photographer) William McMonigle and Amy Zaccario
of Havertown, who both lost their fathers to heroin overdoses in
Philadelphia, are now planning the funeral of their best friend, Sean
Jimenez, who died of a heroin overdose in Kensington on Monday.
At home in Jenkintown, Sean Jimenez had a decent job, a woman who loved
him, and two young sons who bore a striking resemblance to Dennis the
Menace, just as he did when he was little.
But Monday night on a Kensington sidewalk, Jimenez had nothing but the
clothes on his back, a few dollars in his pocket, a cellphone, and a drug
addiction that apparently took his life. He was pronounced dead there at
[continues 785 words]
[photo] Photo by Don Sapatkin / Staff Dr. Thomas C. Barone, a family
physician, practiced in Center City until the State Board of Osteopathic
Medicine suspended his license after four current and former patients died
of opioid overdoses. Photo taken following his testimony at a
reinstatement hearing in Harrisburg on Sept. 16, 2016.
Don Sapatkin covers a wide-ranging public health beat and doubles as
deputy health and science editor. He joined the Inquirerin 1987.
The Pennsylvania Board of Osteopathic Medicine refused Wednesday to let
Thomas C. Barone, a pain management physician whose prescribing practices
were linked to the deaths of four patients, return to his Center City
[continues 452 words]
Charito Morales, a registered nurse and advocate, leads a group through
"El Campamento," a camp of homeless drug users under a railroad bridge in
Fairhill. (TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer)
Mike Newall has been writing for the Inquirer since 2010. Originally from
Brooklyn, N.Y., he has been writing about Philadelphia crime, courts,
politics, and neighborhoods since 2003. Before joining the Inquirer, he
was a staff writer and columnist for Philadelphia Weekly and Philadelphia
City Paper. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and dog.
[continues 700 words]
Charles Cutler is an internal medicine specialist from Norristown.
Want to know what's important in medicine today?
Ask Charles Cutler, an internal medicine specialist from Norristown who
last month was sworn in as the 167th president of the Pennsylvania Medical
The society's 16,000 members are physicians and medical students
throughout the state. Among the issues it promotes are leadership,
education, and public health.
Cutler, a member for 35 years, belongs to numerous other medical
organizations, including the Board of Trustees of the Montgomery County
Medical Society. He is a member of Einstein Physicians Norriton, a part of
the Einstein Healthcare Network.
[continues 236 words]
[photo] Dr. Deepak Ariga holds a needle favored by drug users in Hammond
on April 9, 2015. (Jim Karczewski, Post-Tribune)
An HIV outbreak in Scott County, Ind., has infected 106 people. Can needle
exchanges stem the tide?
An HIV outbreak in Scott County, Ind., has infected 106 people thus far,
and despite reservations, Gov. Mike Pence green-lit a 30-day needle
exchange program to stem the tide.
But public health advocates say the exchange program should be extended to
really make an impact and expanded across the state as such programs have
been shown to be effective in stemming the tide of HIV and hepatitis C
infection among IV drug users.
[continues 1235 words]
[photo] A sign points to the entrance the Community Outreach Center in
Austin, Ind., on April 4, 2015. (Tyler Stewart, AP)
State and local health officials began a needle-exchange program Saturday
in a southeastern Indiana county where an HIV outbreak among intravenous
drug users has grown to nearly 90 cases.
Scott County's needle-exchange program was created through an emergency
executive order signed last week by Gov. Mike Pence in an attempt to curb
the state's largest-ever HIV outbreak. That 30-day order temporarily
suspended Indiana's ban on such programs, but only for the southeastern
Indiana county about 30 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky.
[continues 200 words]
A syringe is pictured along West Main Street in downtown Austin, Ind., in
Scott County on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. (Christopher Fryer / AP)
Years ago, William Cooke sensed a crisis building. The only doctor in
rural Austin, Indiana, noticed that intravenous drug use was soaring in
his town of roughly 4,300, where 23 percent of residents live below the
poverty line. He feared that people addicted to injectable painkillers
might be plucking used needles off lawns, shooting up -- and passing them
[continues 1025 words]
It's an uphill battle
[photo] (John Dole / Scripps Research Institute) Kim Janda of the Scripps
Research Institute is shown in front of a board that depicts molecule
drawings of heroin and cocaine, with the structures of vaccines that
potentially could target those two drugs shown beneath.
In one picture, H. Joseph "Joey" Ressler is smiling at his mother and
lifting her off the ground. In another, a selfie, he's grinning like a
little kid as two motorcyclists roar up from behind. He was just 24, and
the future seemed limitless for the happy, talented young man.
[continues 1151 words]
A Richland woman died Wednesday in her apartment from a suspected heroin
overdose, leaving her 3-year-old son alone in the residence until police
The woman was identified as Lauren Wilson, 34, of Thomas Village in the
5600 block of Community Center Drive.
Police were called Wednesday afternoon by Ms. Wilson's mother because she
was unable to contact her daughter by phone, Northern Regional Police
Department Chief T. Robert Amann said today.
Police found Ms. Wilson's body and a syringe.
[continues 322 words]
Recent headlines tell it all: "9 dead from apparent heroin ODs over
weekend in Kensington area"; "Medical examiner: Philly overdose surge may
have killed 35 over 5 days"; "New Jersey's overdose nightmare hits a new
peak"; and "Growth in the use of opioids is fueling a nationwide epidemic
of deaths from drug overdose".
Heroin mixed with fentanyl - or heroin alone - may be responsible for this
surge in overdoses. In the past, Philadelphia typically had three
overdoses a day and they were not all fatal. Last June, the Philadelphia
Medical Examiner's Office confirmed nearly 700 drug-related deaths in
2015, twice as many deaths as there were from homicides. At the current
rate, 2016 will end with even more.
[continues 619 words]
It looks like pot. It smells like pot. But it's hemp, marijuana's
legal cousin, and it's taking over the Bluegrass state.
Across the rolling hills of Kentucky, which just two decades ago was
the most tobacco-dependent state in the country, farmers are planting
less of the crop after rising health concerns shrunk demand. Instead,
they're increasingly turning to hemp and have more than doubled
sowings of the cannabis variety in 2016 to become the No. 2 producer
in the U.S., trailing Colorado.
[continues 405 words]
[photo] Heather Skorinko had hoped to grow industrial hemp on her North
Whitehall Township farm, but the state's restrictive pilot program will
lock out most family farms, she said. (APRIL BARTHOLOMEW/THE MORNING CALL)
Industrial hemp returns to Pennsylvania in 2017. So why are advocates so
Too often in recent years, Heather Skorinko has struggled to make money
growing corn and soybeans on her North Whitehall Township farm, which has
been in the family for more than 120 years.
[continues 1839 words]
Pa. Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine during a meeting with the staff of
the Twin Lakes treatment facility near Somerset for people suffering with
alcohol and substance abuse.
Pennsylvania's avalanche of opioids that rolled from factories through
pharmacies to medicine cabinets, and then tumbled into the streets with
tragic results, may finally be slowing thanks to pressure on the
prescribing practices of its doctors.
This year, the long-lagging state caught up with the regulatory steps of
many of its neighbors, as Gov. Tom Wolf and legislators from
overdose-plagued districts wrote new laws. Initial data suggests that
attention to the overprescribing of opioids - widely blamed for starting
addictions that progress to heroin use - has started to affect doctors'
[continues 710 words]
The 44-year-old mother who answered the door in Lincoln-Lemington on the
evening of Dec. 15 had the "pin point" eyes of "someone who has recently
used opioids," a Pittsburgh police officer wrote.
The officer was responding to a 911 call suggesting child endangerment. "I
do suffer from using heroin and I'm trying to stop, but I keep using," the
woman admitted, according to the officer's affidavit. She led police to
the makeup bag under the throw pillow, where they found six stamp bags of
heroin and three hypodermic needles, the officer wrote.
[continues 3159 words]
[photo] Toby Talbot / APWith prescriptions dropping in the United States,
companies have started to promote OxyContin and other opioid drugs in
Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
A former adjunct associate professor at Temple University has helped a
leading maker of opioids promote potentially addictive pain medications in
new foreign markets that have not yet seen an overdose crisis like that in
the United States, a Los Angeles Times investigation has found.
The physician, Joseph V. Pergolizzi Jr., is based in Naples, Fla., and has
not been affiliated with Temple since June 2014, the school said.
[continues 331 words]
Two young parents died of apparent drug overdoses in a Pennsylvania
home about a week ago.
Left alone in her bassinet, the couple's infant died three or four
days later. Authorities said 5-month-old Summer Chambers died of
dehydration and starvation, the Associated Press reported.
She and her parents, Jason Chambers, 27, and Chelsea Cardaro, 19, were
all found dead Thursday in a home in the Kernville neighborhood of
Johnstown, about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh.
Officials with the Johnstown Police Department were unavailable for
[continues 376 words]