Editorial roundup

The Akron Beacon Journal, March 1

Americans feel like chumps. That was one conclusion to draw from the series of yes-or-no questions posed by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown to executives from major drug manufacturers appearing before the Senate Finance Committee this week. The Cleveland Democrat elicited responses that established two things: No other country matches the funding American taxpayers pour into the research and development of pharmaceuticals.

And for their investment, benefiting countries around the world? Americans face the highest prices for drugs.

What can be done, realistically and soon, to ease the cost burden?

The least Congress could do is take steps to promote generic drugs and bring to public attention the process behind drug pricing. Those in need of expensive medication and struggling to make ends meet deserve better than lawmakers in gridlock or drug company executives insisting that others in the industry are the real problem. As with so much about the high cost of health care in this country, the driving factor is price.

Online: https://bit.ly/2ThB3Vp


The Columbus Dispatch, March 3

Ohioans should be alarmed by suggestions from both Republican and Democratic leaders in the General Assembly that any vote to raise the gas tax should be tied to income tax rates or deductions or loophole-closing or any other tax policies. That would be a recipe for mischief, both now and in the future.

For many decades, and for good reason, the transportation budget has been considered separate and apart from the main operating budget. In 1947, Ohioans approved a state constitutional amendment to guarantee that motor vehicle and license taxes would be reserved for roads, highways and bridges. Prior to that, some tax receipts from the sale of liquid fuels supported the school foundation fund.

Ever since, lawmakers have honored the complete separation of the main operating budget and the transportation budget, including the tax rates and policies specific to each. Obhof’s suggestion that DeWine’s proposed gas-tax issue could be kicked into the operating budget and considered as part of a broader tax package could not be more imprudent.

Once lawmakers begin making tax trade-offs between budgets that have nothing to do with each other, political point-scoring trumps rational budgeting. That’s a Pandora’s box that should never be opened.

Online: https://bit.ly/2TzEAhe


The Star-Beacon, March 1

Recent news reports show Ohio is fourth in the nation when it comes to sex trafficking cases, trailing just California, Texas and Florida.

… Ohio ranks fourth because task forces were developed in Columbus to deal with the issue.

In most cases, it is not children or young women kidnapped by force from their homes. Usually it is those who come from broken homes without strong family attachments, or those who are already addicted to drugs, making it easier to manipulate them into the sex trade. In many cases traffickers are also drug dealers who feed sex workers’ addictions, and even use the twisted nature of the situation to convince their victims they are the only people who truly care for them.

It is why authorities can and should go after the johns, as well as the traffickers. Setting aside any arguments about whether prostitution should be legalized, there is large demand for the illegal sex trade and, given that many sex workers are themselves victims, it is important to put legitimate fear of prosecution into those who would engage is such acts.

Online: https://bit.ly/2Tu1SER


The Marietta Times, March 1

There is much debate about the merits of medically assisted treatment for those attempting to break the bonds of drug addiction. While some call it trading one drug for another, others believe it is one tool in the “it’s-time-to-throw-everything-at-this-problem” toolkit, and can be helpful to some truly ready to take steps to defeat the monster.

There are options available for help those trying to turn their lives around and away from opioid addiction. But as local law enforcement has pointed out, opioids are falling out of fashion, and methamphetamines are again rearing their ugly head.

“Because there is no medically assisted treatment for meth, that makes it a much more difficult problem than opioids,” said Dr. Michael Bardo, research partner for Dr. Linda Dwoskin of the University of Kentucky. “We don’t yet have anything equivalent to that, so those individuals are much more difficult to treat. There’s nothing available for stimulants.”

It is a shame we must wonder whether there are other researchers out there working toward a foil for whatever substance comes in the next wave, replacing meth at the top; but in the meantime, we are grateful researchers like Dwoskin and Bardo are on the case.

Online: https://bit.ly/2ELQGeA