Deborah Simmons: Maryland opioid crisis and education

Reading the tea leaves of the 2018 gubernatorial in Maryland would be a foolish undertaking at this juncture. The crystal ball is fairly clear about one thing, though: The opioid epidemic is at the crossroads with public education. Maryland teachers are bumping against a July 1 deadline to determine how to “educate” young people and college students about the dangers of opioids. At the same time, the opioid crisis is hitting some regions harder than others. That dynamic means that Democratic contenders like former NAACP chief Ben Jealous, businessman Alec Ross and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III, who announced his run for governor Wednesday, must reimagine how to push for votes. All Marylanders don’t speak the same language, if you will. (Wash. Times)

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June 21 // Ronald Lampard: In the opioid crisis, Maryland is an example for the rest of the nation

The opioid crisis has affected rural, suburban and urban areas across the nation and members of all socioeconomic classes. The state of Maryland has been hit particularly hard. In fact, from January to September of 2016, the state had nearly 1,500 instances where individuals died due to opioid overdose, compared with 523 people who were killed in the state due to automobile accidents for all of 2016. Fortunately, the Maryland legislature passed several measures aimed at addressing the opioid crisis this year. (Examiner)

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Courtland Milloy: Topless bans aim to protect, but some question who needs protecting

To hear some lawmakers tell it, the female breast exposed in public has the power to destroy the moral fabric of the nation. A woman going topless would subject children to pornography, they say. Families would no longer have the right to enjoy public parks and beaches, which would constitute a threat to the democratic way of life. That’s a lot of destructive power for a body part. (Wash. Post)

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Making the roads bike safe

In recent weeks, there has been an uproar in Baltimore over the presence of protected bicycle lanes in Canton and elsewhere. Local residents resented the loss of parking spaces, and some feared that narrowed streets might interfere with fire trucks or other emergency vehicles. The Potomac Street bike lane was subsequently ordered removed (though a judge has halted that action with a temporary restraining order), and last week, Mayor Catherine Pugh announced a citywide review of bike lanes and parking, a move some see as the beginning of the end of bike-friendly policies in the city. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore needs a sustainable plan for stopping violence

We don’t know whether Police Commissioner Kevin Davis is right that flooding the streets with officers for the last week — instituting mandatory 12-hour shifts, canceling leave and emptying out non-patrol posts to put more cops on the beat — was responsible for a relatively quiet stretch in Baltimore’s deadliest year. But for residents terrorized, wearied or just numb from the violence, it was something. It was a sign that we have not simply shrugged our shoulders and given up on the fight. But it was also unsustainable. (Balt. Sun)

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Gregg Bernstein: How to stop Baltimore's violence: a coordinated approach

Baltimore is in a state of crisis with respect to public safety. And while some may call this inflammatory rhetoric, the fact of the matter is that our city's officials, who are responsible for keeping all of us safe, have failed to display any sense of urgency during the first six months of 2017 as the murder rate has skyrocketed, most recently highlighted by the killing of five people in a single night. So, before everyone retreats (yet again) into the numbness, acceptance and inaction that has become all too typical, and Baltimore creeps inexorably toward the highest murder rate in its history, here are some short-term suggestions to stem the blood-letting. (Balt. Sun)

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Student report looks into a touchy issue

Politicians sometimes shrug off reports they don't like as "an academic exercise." But the 75 pages of "Consolidating Public Services in Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis: Impacts and Expenses" are literally an academic exercise, a collection of reports done by University of Maryland students, and just one of an extensive series of studies done as part of the Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability. Still, that doesn't mean the report lacks interest — and we seriously doubt county officials would have funded the effort if they weren't interested. (Capital)

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June 20 // Laslo Boyd: Beyond “Hillbilly Elegy”

“Hillbilly Elegy”, JD Vance’s memoir of a dysfunctional Appalachian family, on the New York Times Best Seller list for 44 weeks and counting, offered a trendy explanation for Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 Presidential election. If only Democrats had paid more attention to white working class voters devastated by economic change, the outcome might have been different. Vance is a gifted writer with a great personal story who introduces us to some fascinating characters in his book.  He is certainly correct that Hillary Clinton’s campaign largely ignored the voters who Vance described, but he fails to offer a thoughtful discussion of what it would have taken to persuade his hillbillies to resist the siren song of Trump. (fromacertainpointofview)

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