Editorial roundup

The (Ashtabula) Star-Beacon, March 19

For many investigative journalists and documentary filmmakers, days like Thursday are the reason they do the hard work and put in the time and effort.

Years of public pressure – much of it since 2013 resulting from the highly damning and critically praised documentary “Blackfish” – finally came to a head with SeaWorld announcing Thursday that it will no longer breed killer whales in captivity and will stop making them perform tricks.

SeaWorld’s 29 killer whales will remain in captivity, and their ages range from 1 to 51, so the end of orca whales at SeaWorld is still along way off, but it is understandable that reintroducing those animals to the wild now would be difficult to impossible. SeaWorld says it has never been done successfully…

While protests have gone on for decades, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s film brought home to many the tragedy of the situation and the horrible, tiny living conditions for the majestic animals – not to mention the dangers for the trainers who worked with the orcas. While Cowperthwaite is not a journalist and her film had a clear point of view, it is a reminder of the power of the media and what can happen when people push beyond the “official” story in search of a deeper understanding.

Online: http://bit.ly/1pVbZ38

The (Canton) Repository, March 18

States like Ohio have been on the front lines in the fight against heroin and opiate addiction.

That must change.

The Fed Up! Coalition, a collaborative formed in 2012 to urge lawmakers to take action on this epidemic, is among the critics of the federal government’s response, which it calls “slow and tragically ineffective.” The numbers support that claim: Opioid abuse, including from heroin, killed a record 28,674 people, including 2,482 Ohioans, in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Long-awaited prescribing guidelines by the CDC, as well as movement on important bills sponsored by Ohio Sens. Rob Portman, a Republican, and Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, offer new hope to the millions of people held captive by one of the worst drug problems to sweep across the United States in decades…

The new guidelines urge doctors to prescribe medications like aspirin and ibuprofen first or resort to other alternatives. Opioids should only be given in small doses and for short periods of time, preferably only three days. As The New York Times notes, the CDC has lagged many states, including Ohio, in setting guidelines for doctors…

This indiscriminate and devastating epidemic demands a federal solution. Lawmakers from both chambers should act quickly and decisively on these bills.

Online: http://bit.ly/1RYoul0