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Opinion

Dry skin is a vexing issue for 72-year-old

Columns

BY KEITH ROACH, M.D. DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 72-year-old woman, and I have had a dryness problem for two years. My face, nose, arms and legs are extremely dry. My doctor doesn’t know what is causing it or what to do about it. I have never seen an article of yours on “dryness.” I have ...

A more equal scale

Letters to the editor

WELDON C. COHICK JR. Linden This is in reference to recently newspaper headlines that read, Mussare looks to tackle property tax reform and other issues. As a local government official who serves as chair of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP), he has a bigger ...

Bible Digest

Columns

“Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not yourself in any wise to do evil.” (Psalms 37:8 AKJV) Anger and revenge will do us no good. Find peace in the Lord.

Pot push lives in labor la-la-land

Columns

By ROB SHEARER While Lt. Gov. John Fetterman crusades on legalizing recreational marijuana, one poll released last fall suggests Pennsylvanians may not be eager to jump on the bandwagon. They’re right to be cautious. Lost amid the legalization hullabaloo is the chaos unfettered pot will ...

We must ensure that justice is colorblind

Our View

It may be impossible to devise a foolproof safeguard against bias on the part of jurors in criminal trials. Recently, Keith Tharpe reminded us why we need to keep trying. Tharpe, 61, late last year, was in a Georgia prison — still under a death sentence dating back to 1991. He was ...

Did we learn nothing from the so-called crack-cocaine plague of the ’80s and ’90s? For those with fuzzy memories, the media back then erroneously and breathlessly declared that crack use had reached epidemic proportions. Newsweek declared crack was “the most addictive drug known to man.” The full truth would eventually come out. Crack was only half the problem. Crack is created when powder cocaine is mixed with baking soda and water and cooked down into rocklike nuggets to be smoked in a pipe. It’s a relatively cheap high and favored by those in poorer neighborhoods. The more expensive powder cocaine was snorted primarily by higher-income Caucasians. What was happening in the ’80s wasn’t just a crack epidemic; it was also a cocaine epidemic — and poor and rich alike were addicted. Congress bought the fake news that crack was the real problem and passed the ill-conceived Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which set a mandatory sentence of five years in federal prison for anyone convicted of possessing 5 grams of crack (equal to 1 teaspoon), even if it was their first offense. Thousands of mostly poor, young African American men were imprisoned, their families torn apart. Powder cocaine users were only sentenced to that mandatory five years in prison if they possessed 500 grams (or over a pound) of the drug. The racial disparity was painfully obvious. The overcrowding of our prison system began. More importantly, the crime and drug problems in America did not lessen with these tough-on-crime sentences. Things got worse over the years, as addicts moved on to “black tar” heroin, meth, ketamine, ecstasy and more. Today, the deadliest drug is reported to be fentanyl — not the medically approved pharmaceutical fentanyl, an opioid that treats severe pain, but rather the illegally produced fentanyl, which is mostly smuggled into the U.S. via illicit laboratories in China and Mexico. Tens of thousands of Americans have died from fentanyl overdoses and other similar chemical compounds called analogues. There are several bills pending in Congress now aimed at curbing distribution and use of fentanyl and its analogues. Some seek to label the addicting chemicals as highly regulated, Schedule I dangerous opioids, which opponents say could adversely affect future scientific research. But guess what is also being considered as a solution to this deadly problem? You guessed it — mandatory prison sentences for drug addicts and street dealers in possession of drugs containing fentanyl and its close cousins. Reality check: Street-level sellers and buyers have no way of knowing if their drugs include fentanyl. It’s added in by criminal “chemical cookers” to give their drugs that extra punch that keeps customers coming back. Attorney General William Barr hit the nail on the head at his confirmation hearing last year when he said, “The head of the snake is outside the country, and the place to fight this aggressively is at the source more than on the street corner.” Barr added, “We could stack up generation after generation of people in prison and it will still keep on coming.” Ironically, Barr has recently campaigned for passage of two bills that fail to focus on stopping fentanyl at the source. When will lawmakers understand that locking up addicts and low-level dealers doesn’t stop the problem? It just creates another fractured generation of ex-cons and ever-mounting incarceration costs for us to pay. Going after the source of the product that poisons so many is a much smarter long-term tactic. Spend more money interdicting shipments of fentanyl (and all illegal opioids!) coming into this country via the U.S. Postal Service. Outfit agencies like the Customs and Border Protection and the Drug Enforcement Administration with more personnel and technology to stop drug shipments headed this way, whether they’re arriving via air, sea, land or border tunnels. Make foreign aid dependent on whether the receiving country helps stop the flow of drugs into the U.S. And how about focusing on job training for convicted dealers and truly meaningful treatment for addicts so that upon their release, they become taxpaying citizens with decent jobs? We need a modern-day war on drugs — one that is strong and focused on the source of the problem, not just on the addicted victims drugs create. Diane Dimond is a Creators Syndicate writer.

Columns

Did we learn nothing from the so-called crack-cocaine plague of the '80s and '90s? For those with fuzzy memories, the media back then erroneously and breathlessly declared that crack use had reached epidemic proportions. Newsweek declared crack was "the most addictive drug known to man." The ...

Beware of China

Our View

Some foreign governments spare no effort to gain advantage over U.S. businesses and consumers. Trade barriers such as tariffs and unreasonable restrictions in the name of product safety are examples. But some — including China — are involved in all-out assaults on Americans. Theft of ...

Only a FaceTime away

Columns

Dear Annie: I have never written to a columnist in my 70 years, but “Sad and Somewhat Angry Granny,” whose daughter-in-law wouldn’t allow her kids to open any of the Christmas gifts Granny brought them overseas before Christmas Day, really struck a chord with me. What a wonderful ...

Allergist will need to step in to assess beta blocker rash

Columns

BY KEITH ROACH, M.D. DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a dilemma. I suffered an aortic dissection nine months ago and was put on labetalol. I have bounced back well, and at age 84 take care of my house and husband, cook for three adults and am generally healthy. I developed an allergy to labetalol so I ...

Bible Digest

Columns

“Delight yourself also in the LORD: and he shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalms 37:4-5 AKJV) Seek the Lord. Have faith in God. Act on your faith in God. You will be glad you did.

Sandcastles

Columns

By RALPH DOTTERER JR. In Ravi Zacharias’ book “Can Man Live Without God,” he recounts a speaking visit he made to The Ohio State University, where he was given a special tour of the Wexler Building. The Wexler Building is considered to be our nation’s first intentionally ...

Crazy about boyfriend, or just stir crazy?

Columns

Dear Annie: I have been seeing this guy for about eight months now and don’t know how to explain what the situation is. He always comes to my house, and we watch TV and do a lot of talking. I feel like I have known him my whole life and am so comfortable with him. My problem is that we ...

High blood sugar can cause changes in brain function

Columns

BY KEITH ROACH, M.D. DEAR DR. ROACH: Can you talk about cognitive impairment in diabetes? I’ve been assured that diabetes does not increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but my brother is a noncompliant elderly diabetic. When his blood sugar is high (which is frequently), he has poor ...

Bible Digest

Columns

“Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs not itself, is not puffed up, Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil;” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 AKJV) This is a test. Are we loving?

A responsible Pennsylvania budget proposal? Only in your dreams

Columns

By NATHAN BENEFIELD In his sixth budget address, Gov. Tom Wolf asked us to “imagine” what Pennsylvania would look like if he could purchase everything on his wish list. To cover the costs, he wants to raise overall spending a massive 6.1 percent. He also wants to borrow $5.5 ...

More Route 220 safety initiatives are welcomed

Our View

Did you know that more than 24,000 vehicles travel the Route 220 corridor between Linden and Jersey Shore every day? 24,000. We expect many are work and school commuters. Many are local. Many also are pass-through travelers. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has made ...

Term limits

Letters to the editor

SUZANNE WOODHOUSE Jersey Shore In the aftermath of the impeachment hearings it is evident we need term limits on public officials running for office. The person with the most seniority is appointed to chair a committee no matter their ability. It amazes me the caliber of people that are ...

Applause, Applause!

Columns

Each Saturday, The Express community newspaper highlights people, groups and activities our readers deem worthy of applause. I would like to THANK the person who found my bank card and turned it in to the city police. It just proves that there are still some good people in the world. — ...