Editorial roundup


The (Canton) Repository, Sept. 24

Drug overdose deaths in Ohio skyrocketed again in 2014, and the glum news shows no signs of stopping. The culprit behind the 18 percent increase in drug overdose deaths over the prior year is heroin, but also a newer opioid – the painkiller fentanyl, or more specifically an illegal, synthetically manufactured version being smuggled into the state …

We have to scratch our heads, though, when we read about the puzzling measures like the one taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently. The FDA, despite its regulatory might, reversed a rule on the use of OxyContin for pediatric patients ages 11-16. The opioid previously was banned for this age group, but the FDA made an exception for patients receiving round-the-clock care and whose pain was not alleviated by any other painkillers …

… As the federal government and states began to crack down on pain pills and flawed prescription practices, opioid addicts – who come from all walks of life – sought out heroin to fill the void.

It’s becoming more and more clear that big pharmaceutical companies and the agency that approves the narcotics they manufacture may be just as culpable for this surge in drug overdose deaths as the average street dealer peddling these drugs into all corners of society.

Online: http://bit.ly/1Jylyqy

The Cincinnati Enquirer, Sept. 25

House Speaker John Boehner’s resignation is a loss for the forces of common sense and pragmatism in Congress …

Based on numerous reports, Boehner is leaving Congress in a deal to avert a shutdown. Conservatives were threatening to attach a Planned Parenthood defunding measure to a spending bill that had to pass by Wednesday. Now, they will support a clean bill.

It’s no secret that those conservative forces have been biting at Boehner’s heels for several years, condemning his leadership approach as not conservative enough. Maintaining that delicate political balance has been exhausting – both for Boehner and for those who seek more than dissension from Washington …

His departure is a loss for Washington and the country. The deal may help Congress avert one battle only to be weakened for the next. This year’s Planned Parenthood fight could be next year’s fight over a wall between Mexico and the United States or another attack on the Affordable Care Act.

The balance of power between the executive and legislative branches depends on reasonable people from both sides of the political aisle behaving reasonably. Will Boehner’s successor be able to quell the divisiveness that has defined his tenure these past five years?

Online: http://cin.ci/1iEMVJS

The Columbus Dispatch, Sept. 25

For many families, the cost of allowing their students to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities – including band, theater, choir and orchestra – is becoming out of reach …

With many children growing up in poverty and coming from single-parent homes, role models such as coaches are even more important. And landing after-school jobs, which teach responsibility, has been tough in a sluggish economy. So, many fear children are missing out on developing the character and leadership skills these “nonessential” school activities provide.

These very issues prompted Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to approach state Sen. Cliff Hite, a Findlay Republican and a longtime high-school football coach, to see if Ohio might lead the nation in banning the fees …

In many cases, the fees were enacted or hiked as a stopgap measure when levies failed. But they seem to have become a permanent way to plug budget holes amid years of tight school funding …

Schools, of course, are caught in a bad situation. They must focus on their core academic mission and perhaps rightly see user fees as a fair way to cover activity-related expenses, such as stipends for coaches or team travel. But Hite and Husted will do Ohio families a favor by reviewing this practice and seeking alternatives.

Online: http://bit.ly/1iEQGig