Wise or Dead? (Part Three) by Jamie Kirkpatrick

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Two weeks ago, I was early to bed. Last week, I was early to rise. It follows that by now, if you believe old Ben Franklin’s adage, I should be healthy, wealthy, and wise. But hold on; wait a sec: maybe we ought to consider an alternative ending, the one penned by an equally sagacious American—James Thurber. He had a different take on the daily rhythms of our lives: “Early to rise and early to bed makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead.” Hmmm; now there’s some food for thought worth digesting.

I’m a devoted Franklinite. In large part thanks to my nutritionist daughter-in-law, I’m reasonably healthy; I must admit I’m a bit less wealthy than the Monopoly man, old Uncle Pennybags; and as for wise, that’s certainly open to debate. But I am undoubtedly alive. That said, Mr. Thurber makes a good point, perhaps the same one made by British economist John Maynard Keynes when he commented “in the long run, we’re all dead.” Perhaps not quite as coyly poetic as Mr. Thurber, but awfully hard to refute.

Keynes developed his complicated theories to explain major economic phenomena—the Great Depression and World War II, for example. He realized that even after a great storm, the ocean will eventually be flat again. While that may be a comforting thought for those who can afford a yacht in which to ride out the storm, it doesn’t do much for the rest of us kayakers who are caught up in some tempestuous short-run situations from time to time. I bet all those destitute folk out in the Oklahoma dust bowl would have surely appreciated a flat ocean sooner rather than “in the long run.”

Anyway, Ben Franklin’s more optimistic analysis of my nocturnal and diurnal habits is much more comforting: maybe, if I can continue to adhere to my daily routines, I’ll eventually hit the trifecta of health, wealth, and wisdom. To be honest, I’d take any two of the three. Were you to ask my wife, however, I’m pretty sure she would tell you that at this point in the game, wisdom is pretty much out of reach so I should be just wise enough to aim at the health and wealth targets of Poor Richard’s little ditty. At least with those two beans in hand, we wouldn’t have to keep putting off that trip to Italy we’ve been talking about for the past three years.

She’s probably right. If I were just healthy and wealthy, I could afford to be a little foolish. I’d eat the most expensive salads on the menus of all the finest restaurants in town. I’d buy Eggman all the organic tofu he could eat. My wife and I would finally get to take that trip to Italy, even fly first-class. We’d rent a villa in Tuscany or stay at the Gritti Palace Hotel in Venice or charter a yacht to cruise the Amalfi coast. We’d buy each other designer clothes and gifts for all our friends back home at every elegant store along the Via Veneto. We’d…

Wait. What? How much? Really??

Hmmm… never mind. Guess I’ll settle for wise after all.

And alive.

I’ll be right back.

Jamie Kirkpatrick is a writer and photographer with homes in Chestertown and Bethesda. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington College Alumni Magazine, and American Cowboy magazine. “A Place to Stand,” a book of photographs and essays about Landon School, was published by the Chester River Press in 2015.  A collection of his essays titled “Musing Right Along” was published in May 2017; a second volume of Musings entitled “I’ll Be Right Back” was released in June 2018.  Jamie’s website is www.musingjamie.com

Letter to Editor: POTUS and El Paso

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As we learn more about the El Paso shooter it appears that he is a white-nationalist Latino-hater. In other words, he is disciple of our president.

Trump read a teleprompter speech this morning that obviously some conniving strategist (probably Steven Miller) wrote for him. The words say “let us love, not hate each other.” Does that sound like Trump? No, it does not. Trump is the chief divider of our people, the wellspring of hate and bigotry. I put the El Paso shooting on him. The shooter was only doing what he thought the president wanted, getting rid of the invaders, the rapists, the murderers from the south.

What are Trump and his sycophants in Congress going to do about it? Oh, it’s a mental health issue. It has nothing to do with guns. So, they’ll wring their hands, saying “What a tragedy this was,” express sympathy for the victims’ families, and count on our short term memories to make the problem fade.

Trump bragged that he signed the law banning bump stocks, the device that makes a semi-automatic assault rifle full automatic. Don’t people know that full auto weapons are already illegal (ATF class 3) unless one goes through a number of FBI checks and pays an annual fee? Bump stocks should have already been Class 3 regulated before the Las Vegas massacre. Not much of a concession on Trump’s part.

The president said he would have the Justice Department pursue the death penalty for the shooter. Doesn’t that make us all feel better?

Trump and his Congressional Republicans fill me with disgust. They prefer to take money and support from gun lobbyists and NRA than do the right thing for Americans, the majority of whom want universal background checks on all gun sales, and would be just fine with a ban on assault rifles and high capacity magazines.

Folks, the only thing we have to combat this idiocy is our vote. Letters to our Congressmen aren’t enough. Republicans leaders are going to follow the party line anyway. I learned that in my dealings with Andy Harris on climate change. We have to kick these self-serving scoundrels out of office.

Bob Moores
Chestertown

Op-Ed: Will This National Crisis Change the Gun Debate?

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It’s too early to suggest that the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings will change the debate on guns or anything else, but one can hope.  On Monday, President Trump surprised many by condemning white supremacy. Various leaders, led by politicians but also athletes, entertainers, and businessmen, are speaking out.  The media is devoting entire programs to the issue of gun violence and the need for action. I’m encouraged. 

Dozens of pundits have commented that it takes a crisis to bring a community together.  The implication is that without a crisis, a community may be unable to form the type of consensus necessary to act. Skillful politicians know when a crisis has occurred and how to exploit it. Memorably, Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s chief of staff, commented that, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste.  And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Emanuel is right. Obama used the Great Recession to enact Obamacare. But only the next few weeks will tell whether the recent mass murders and the universal expectation that more will follow is enough of a crisis to build a national consensus to do something about gun violence. Hopefully it is.

For the time being, hundreds of thousands of people are demanding that something be done to end the epidemic of mass shootings. The ideas are familiar to many of us:  Expanded background checks, banning certain weapons, taking guns away from the documented mentally ill, registering guns, and things like requiring gun owners to maintain liability insurance to pay for the harm their gun might do. It can, of course, be questioned whether any or all these actions would prevent the next mass shooting, but it would be a start.  Whether the political will exists for those in the community who fear gun legislation to change their views is another question. Historically, calls for action after a shooting are loud but short-lived. After the shock of seeing pictures of murdered victims, especially children, things seem to go back to normal.   

Will this time be different?  Hopefully it will, but it won’t happen automatically. Legislators need to hear from enough constituents to become convinced that their jobs are in jeopardy if they “vote wrong.”  Legislators themselves need to demonstrate political courage by addressing those who are skeptical about new gun laws. Trusted legislators telling hunters and other gun owners that banning assault weapons and making it harder to buy a gun is not a forerunner to seizure of all guns will help a consensus to emerge. It can be done.

The drafting of legislation that gives us the best chance of reducing gun violence won’t be written if Democrats focus too much on blaming President Trump and racists for the most recent tragedies.   Progress requires civil discourse. Can Republicans and Democrats set aside the name calling and focus on find the common ground? It’s out there. It may not be everyone’s first choice for a solution, but it also may be our best shot at getting something done.  

J.E. Dean of Oxford is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant. He is a former counsel to the House Committee on Education and Labor.  For more than 30 years, he advised clients on federal education and social service policy. He is the former chairman of the National College Access Network (NCAN), a group promoting success in higher education among underrepresented groups, and KnowledgeWorks Foundation, a national leader in strategic foresight and education innovation. 

Editorial: Mass Shootings, Mental Health Stigma, and Flags

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This started as a piece about flags, free speech and our community’s ability to rise above the divisive.

Then came the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting, which likely prompted more than a few safety check texts to West Coast family and friends. Saturday brought news of the shooting of 20 persons and maiming of many more at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. We woke on Sunday to hear of the early morning shooting of nine persons at a Dayton, Ohio nightspot.

We moved on from flags. We want to remind all of our readers that mass shootings should not fuel stigma about mental illness. And the power to prevent these tragedies starts with family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. See something, say something, and follow up.

This is confirmed in a well-time piece published in the Los Angeles Times by criminologists Jillian Peterson and James Densley of the Violence Project who summarized their conclusions and recommendations having completed an analysis of U.S. mass shooter data since 1966 funded by the National Institute of Justice. Read their entire piece here.

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-08-04/el-paso-dayton-gilroy-mass-shooters-data
Peterson and Densley identified common traits among most mass shooters studied: exposed to trauma and violence as a child; experienced an identifiable life crisis leading up to shooting; emulated prior shooters and fed off their notoriety and public fear created; and had the means to carry out the act.

Peterson and Densley noted that most mass shooters have reached a point of having lost everything and are likely suicidal. Sadly, these persons don’t slide so far without missing the notice of someone—a family member, friend, neighbor.

Among their recommendations was the reminder we need to be proactive, not just in time of crisis, but when the trauma is first experienced. These events are a sad reminder that we owe to each other to build trust, demonstrate empathy and keep lines of communications open, particularly in times of crisis. You never know the crisis you may avert or the community you will strengthen.

Enduring Friendship by Craig Fuller

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The dictionary tells us that to endure means that “something continues to exist without any loss in quality or importance.”

This past month, with the loss of a loved one, I learned a great deal about enduring friendship.

Craig and Karen Fuller

During the month of Karen’s passing, her memorial service and the reception that followed, I was reminded so often in notes and conversations about Karen’s lifelong success in building enduring friendships. From the neighbor she met at age 2, through high school, college and all the activities that followed, enduring friendships formed.

While I have always enjoyed strong professional relationships and many friends, the number of enduring friendships, if I am honest, is a small fraction of the number Karen formed. It was astounding to embrace the joy of remembering long ago moments and shared experiences that found expression all month long…in fact, the power of enduring friendships was expressed during the past few months visits, calls and messages.

Time was when we didn’t move through life so fast. When the town was a community where the townspeople knew each other and shared experiences together. We find ourselves more worldly while also more dispersed. Staying in touch is easier electronically, but schedules test our ability to sit and enjoy moments face to face.

For many, the professional relationships and even friendships fall away over the years. But, for the enduring friendships – and here’s the lesson – time and distance are of no consequence. With Karen’s enduring friendships there was no loss in quality or importance.

During this past month as we celebrated Karen’s life, whether people came across the country (as some did by car) or from next door, the expressions of friendship formed decades ago or only months earlier were heart-warming, deep and sustaining.

A friend offered a poignant perspective on all of this as I explained the task of looking at decades old documents that mean little today; in fact, many I never knew we had. The point was made that at the time they seemed so important, which is why they were saved; but, what has truly lasted and what was really so important then and now are the friendships around those shared experiences.

Important lessons…and going forward, I intend to work harder at building enduring friendships and be far less concerned about records of past acts. With more years behind me than ahead of me, the lesson of the enduring friends comes at no better time.

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore. 

Letter to Editor: After El Paso and Dayton, Congressman Harris Needs to Take Action

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It is early Sunday morning, August 4, 2019.  Yesterday families in El Paso Texas and Dayton, Ohio woke up and they had fathers, mothers, kids, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends.  This morning, at least 30 of those families are grieving because they don’t have those fathers, mothers, kids, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends.

So I am writing to you early on this Sunday morning to ask you to do something to make sure other families, today, tomorrow, the next day don’t have to begin grieving too.

You are an elected leader.  Your constituents elected you to take on the many problems our country faces, propose solutions, and enact laws that might begin to address them.

Today, not tomorrow, not the day after, you have to address the problem of gun violence in our country.  You have to ban assault weapons, demand background checks for every gun purchaser, and improve mental health care.  You must also begin impeachment proceedings to replace a president who denigrates as “vermin” anyone whose heritage is different from his own and encourages violence against innocent people who are immigrants, just as your parents were.

In 1962, Bob Dylan asked a question that I am now asking you.  “How many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died”? Will 20 people in El Paso do it?  Another 9 in Dayton? 3 in Gilroy?  Why didn’t 20 kids and 7 of their teachers in Newtown get the message across to you?  Or 11 people in Pittsburgh? 17 in Parkland?

How many deaths will it take until you know that too many people have died and you decide you decide to use the power your constituents gave you to do something about it?

We’re waiting for an answer, Congressman Harris.

Linda Cades
Kennedyville

 

In With Both Feet by George Merrill

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I can’t cut my toenails any more.

The limitation’s been challenging. At first it bothered me.

My inability to cut my nails became apparent in January. I did well with the right foot, but I couldn’t get at my left foot to save my soul (no pun intended.) It required contortions that I couldn’t manage.

I couldn’t bring myself to ask my wife to help. She already does my hair (cutting only, no styling since I’m legally bald.) I felt doing my nails would be just another burden for her. If left unaddressed however, my toenails would pierce the fronts of my shoes. What to do? A manicurist, or a nail technician?

My pride hurt badly enough because I couldn’t take care of myself properly, the way I could when I was younger. Then, as I considered a nail salon, I worried my masculine identity might be threatened. Aren’t nail salons, like beauty shops, for women and girls? Aren’t they female sanctuaries, women caves, if you will? I’ve aged sufficiently to discover this is not so. They’re co-ed, but lean decidedly toward a female clientele.

My son-in law, a strapping 6’3” macho, executive type, takes his four daughters to have their nails done. He gets a pedicure while he’s there. His girls, I imagine, legitimized his presence in the salon. If I went by myself, I’d have no excuse. I’d be on my own. However, I took courage when hearing about him and the girls. When I considered how Rosy Greer felt comfortable with crocheting and needlepoint, I decided I could visit a nail salon.

After my first trip to a salon, I felt like the little boy who first rode his bike without training wheels. What can I say; when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

I’ve enjoyed two visits to the nail salon. No pedicures, though, just a trim. I have my limits.

On my first visit, I was relieved to see a male customer there. He was having a pedicure. He saw me, but didn’t acknowledge me, perhaps regretting that he was no longer the only rooster in the hen house. A staff woman attended me.

On the second visit, all the customers and staff were women. I was the only man, except for the male technician who attended me. He motioned me to sit. A woman’s purse was on the chair. I said loud enough that all patrons could hear; “I know this is not mine; it doesn’t go with my shoes.” We bantered. It was fun. I felt like one of the girls. As we are learning, guys are touchy about negotiating stuff like that. But that’s for another discussion.

I assumed that the personnel, except for one woman, were Chinese or Vietnamese. Few were fluent in English, but knew enough to conduct business efficiently.

Patrons chatted with each other, but not with any staff that I noticed. I’m sure language was the issue. Staff would occasionally comment to each other softly, as if trying not to intrude on the patrons all speaking in English. I listened intently as the staff spoke. The sound of the language intrigued me. To my Western ear, it sounded as if communication depended on rising and falling tones – as much, if not more, than just articulating words. It was as if music carried the messages. I’d hear occasional melodic whispers which I imagined might be a question, others an exclamation, still others, humor. I have no idea whether I interpreted these tonal exchanges correctly.

I know only that I was fascinated and I listened intently to each tone, trying to imagine what it meant. I looked at staffs’ faces for smiles or frowns, anything that might give their message away, but everyone appeared impassive. It surprised me to be drawn into a world I knew nothing about, but which seemed to beckon me to listen as staff did what is fundamental to us all – to speak with the desire to be heard; heard by someone, a someone who will understand what we’re saying. It’s the universal antidote to loneliness. Understanding frees us from isolation. It’s what makes community and affirms our belonging.

On my second visit to the salon, the man who attended me nodded for me to sit, but said nothing. I couldn’t actually see his facial expressions. He wore a gauze mask. Did he have a cold or did he fear being contaminated by his clients? It’s maddening when finding myself so close to someone, even touching and still not being able to communicate; casual small talk would have done it for me. Just a word can close the widest chasms.

He filed away on my big toe, stopped and looked up. He pointed to the little toe on my left foot, shook his head slightly. I thought he said, “Only meat left here.” The entire nail residue hung precariously from the flesh of the toe, the nail almost completely detached. He clipped it off, carefully, like a surgeon. He nodded his head, as if to reassure me that it was ok.

It was ok.

Finishing up, he began washing my feet. I felt strangely moved. An image of Jesus came to mind, washing the feet of his disciples in an intimate act of humility and hospitality. Jesus who was the master among his disciples, in one sense the one privileged among the twelve, revealed that he was not about exercising his privilege, but in serving others. It is the business of those to whom much has been given, that much is required. Serving others, some believe, is what destiny (or God) calls us to do. We give away what we have and only then, receive.

The man attending me, gestured me to take my feet from the foot bath onto a towel. After drying my feet, he drew his head back some as if checking on his work. He nodded in approval.

He took my shoes and put them on. I thought he’d leave that to me.

I felt an impulse to tip him more than would be appropriate. I prayed to God the impulse was not born out of pity or condescension. I know it’s not uncommon to feel dismissive of those serving us. I assured myself this impulse was something else, a surge of profound admiration for what I imagined he left behind to establish himself here.

To immigrate is a brutal process now. What did he and his staff endure to be here and provide this service? Determination, I thought, pure guts. Hope, too. Citizens with such character serve America well.

I don’t usually jump into something with both feet. Aging frequently provides the defining nudge. I’m glad I jumped. I’m more confident of my footing, now.

Columnist George Merrill is an Episcopal Church priest and pastoral psychotherapist. A writer and photographer, he’s authored two books on spirituality: Reflections: Psychological and Spiritual Images of the Heart and The Bay of the Mother of God: A Yankee Discovers the Chesapeake Bay. He is a native New Yorker, previously directing counseling services in Hartford, Connecticut, and in Baltimore. George’s essays, some award winning, have appeared in regional magazines and are broadcast twice monthly on Delmarva Public Radio.

Op-Ed: Weary of Outrage But Not Ready to Give Up by Maria Grant

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I wake up every morning outraged by the ways of the world.  Good people contract bad diseases and die. Crooks live long and prosperous lives.  Hard working people hold down two jobs and barely make ends meet. Bizarre hedge fund transactions enable others to amass obscene amounts of money with little effort.  Innocent children die from random gun shots. What kind of world is this? There’s more.

I am outraged by those who refute climate change despite all scientific evidence to the contrary.

I am outraged by our lack of progress regarding gun control laws and the banning of assault weapons.  

I am outraged when children are denied a decent education. 

I am outraged by the fact that Ford and Boeing knew about problems in their respective vehicles but did nothing about them, causing innocent people to die.  

I am outraged by how little progress we have made in conquering the disease of addiction.  

I am outraged by the inhumane conditions at the migrant holding facilities.

I am outraged by how long it takes to stop or prosecute those who sexually abuse others and by the humiliation the victims sometimes face. 

I am outraged by frauds such as Jeffrey Epstein who amass millions of dollars by using unscrupulous methods and developing nefarious ways to hide their ill-begotten financial treasure.

I am outraged that Congress has done virtually nothing about past and on-going Russian interference in U.S. elections.  

I am outraged by companies that put weird chemicals in food, fertilizers, and weed killers which cause cancer and other diseases.  

I’m outraged by the endless rationalizations and hypocrisy of the religious right in supporting positions and statements that are the antithesis of what they say they believe.   

If you think about all this too much, it can destroy you.  It can prevent you from sleeping. It can make you so angry that normal conversations with friends become impossible.  What can you do?  

My advice:  Don’t give up hope. Work hard to be a good friend.  Such friendships remind us that decency can survive despite the rest of the world going south.  Engage in civil dialogue whenever possible. Appeal to basic human decency and kindness. Search for signs of hope.  Keep an open mind, treating everyone with dignity and respect. Make your own individual efforts to make the world a better place—work at a soup kitchen, sign up for Habitat for Humanity, mentor or coach a student. 

Also think about Wordsworth’s sonnet, “The World Is Too Much With Us” and from time to time disengage from society’s incessant noise and seek beauty in nature, music, and literature.  

Among the actions I am taking is the writing of this editorial.  I am hopeful that by cataloging some things that trouble me, others also may be prompted to speak up and take their own actions to make things better. Many effective groups have mobilized to address these troublesome issues.  Become involved. Take a stand. Make a case.

We live in dark times.  But remember the sun also rises and it is darkest before the dawn.  

Maria Grant served as principal-in-charge of the Federal Human Capital practice with Deloitte Consulting where she advised several Federal agencies and major private sector corporations throughout the U.S.   Since her retirement from Deloitte, she has focused on reading, writing, music, travel, gardening and nature. She cherishes the hummingbirds that gather daily just outside her screened porch overlooking Island Creek. 

 

  

Op-Ed: Kent County Tops State in Oxycodone, Hydrocodone Prescriptions by Dan Watson

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Having gone to court to win access to the information, The Washington Post and a small West Virginia paper, the Charleston Gazette-Mail, have pried loose evidence that 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone tablets were distributed in the US over a seven-year period 2006-2012. Seventy-six BILLION. Any wonder we’ve suffered a nationwide opioid epidemic?

And this data covers only those two pills; it does not include Oxycontin, Percocet, Valium, and so forth—all of which are dangerous and part of the problem.  Access to the Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) database obtained by the Post enables any reader to drill down to annual data on a County basis, Visit here.

I write from the Talbot County perspective.  Kent County leads Maryland in the legal distribution of the opioids studied dispensing 170 percent of the state average per person.  Three of the top five counties are on the Eastern Shore, including Cecil and Worcester. Talbot County led Baltimore City and Baltimore County, but both were in the bottom half of the list and both below the state average.

As I scanned the Post’s stunning articles with their dynamic maps and graphics, I thought of the Shore-wide “Go Purple” campaign that certainly raised public consciousness of the opioid crisis in our region. 

Pharmacies in Talbot County dispensed 33 oxycodone and hydrocodone pills for every man, woman and child in Talbot County, on average, over those seven years. That sure looked like a lot to me. I was inclined to chalk it up to our older population (median 49.7 years, 12 years older than state average!). We must have the highest number of joint replacements per capita of any County in Maryland if my circle of friends is any indicator.

By contrast, pharmacies in Kent County dispensed 59 oxycodone and hydrocodone pills per person, on average, over those seven years.  The obvious question to my friends in Kent County is, Why was your rate of distribution of these dangerous drugs almost twice Talbot’s, and four times that of Montgomery and PG?  I for one am a loss for a reasonable hypothesis, although I don’t know your County as well as I should.

If there is good news, it is that the DEA data reveals that Maryland was spared complete devastation compared to other areas of the Country, particularly Appalachia where in Mingo County WV the average was 203 pills per person over seven years!

Having identified Kent as a high use county, it would seem the medical community must take an aggressive role in monitoring patient use and potential misuse.  Heading off abuse of opioid prescriptions continues to be unified effort led by local law enforcement in every county. Eastern Shore counties will start ramping up for “Goes Purple” campaign soon.  

I wanted to learn more about the law enforcement perspective on this report so I sat down with Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble who was happy to spend an hour to drill down into its meaning locally. His main points were these:

Importance: The national data and patterns are obviously jaw dropping. At the State and County levels it could also be very useful to uncover outliers. The data shows individual pharmacy and physician fulfillments (though not individual prescriptions). 

Timeliness: The publicly released data set is seven years old. It would have been more helpful before the horse was out of the barn. Since 2012 the drug scene has morphed somewhat.

Pills In Context: Prior to about 2012 pills of all sorts—especially oxycodone and hydrocodone—were a dominant problem because they were cheap and available. Since then, for many reasons, pills have become less available and—in relation to heroine especially—more expensive. Consequently, pills are today dangerous mostly as a “step on the ladder” (Sheriff Gamble’s phrase): a kid who may have toyed with alcohol or marijuana gets his (or her) hands on a pill or two, and experiences that first opioid high. It may be a brief plateau, but once addiction takes hold, the much cheaper and available heroine becomes the main drug of choice.

Two Things People Need To Do: First, sort through your meds for any drugs you do not really need at present….not just expired drugs, but those “left over.” Don’t save them for a rainy day. Deposit them directly into the (free and anonymous) dropbox situated right in front of the Sheriff’s Office on Vickers Drive off of Flatland Road. Second, as to any drugs you need to keep on hand, do not let them simply sit in your medicine cabinet. Lock them up somewhere. We all think of the risk of teenagers or kids getting hold of them, but really anyone with incidental access (cleaners, repairmen) can lift a few little pills (worth $30 or $40 each), and if the whole bottle doesn’t disappear, who’s to notice?

The flood of opioids is a historic, world-class scandal. How many Americans—including some in Kent and Talbot County– have died unnecessarily? How many equivalent World Trade Towers went down, and nary a terrorist to be seen?

Many want to crucify the profit driven players in the opioid trade itself—the manufacturers, the wholesale distributers, and unscrupulous or careless pharmacists and prescribers. But blame is shared by those responsible for regulating this dangerous business, whose indifference and ineptitude–and probably worse–denied Americans the protections that should have applied. Responsibility rests ultimately on the lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who failed us over many years.  And of course patients need to be wary of using opioids to solve long-term pain issues.  

Meanwhile, do your part today. Check that medicine cabinet, find those unused dangerous meds, and discard properly (NOT down the toilet).  Any questions, call your local sheriff’s department.  

Dan Watson is the former chair of Bipartisan Coalition For New Council Leadership and has lived in Talbot County for the last twenty-five years. 

 

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