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Charles Meredith: Coroner knows about opioid addiction


Dear Friends,

Good morning. Mighty Betsy’s and my favorite foot doctor is also the Bucks County coroner. Dr. Joseph Campbell is seeking re-election this year. Every few months, MB and I get our feet inspected … it’s always tortuous fun.

It’s always reassuring to be able to converse with the coroner. None of his clients do.

Because the southern border with Mexico is in the news, I asked Joe whether he believed that President Trump was correct in using the border to declare a national emergency? The president claims that drugs, rapists, and murderers are pouring unchecked across the border with Mexico.

I believe that drugs and felons gain access through legal ports of entry. At least, that’s what the statistics show. Congress did not give the president the funds he wanted to build his border wall so he’s executing a congressional end-run. Surely, the courts will step in and deny Trump’s wishes.

I asked Joe for his opinion. He believes that America should do whatever it takes to stop the illegal drugs from coming into the country … including building a wall with Mexico. He talks about fentanyl, the drug that’s been at the heart of the deaths that his office has seen.

He told me that fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine. “Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients, applied in a patch on the skin,” my Google search revealed.

“Because of its powerful opioid properties, fentanyl is also diverted for abuse. Fentanyl is added to heroin to increase its potency, or be disguised as highly potent heroin. Users believe that they are buying heroin. They don’t realize that they are purchasing fentanyl, which often results in overdose deaths. Clandestinely produced fentanyl is primarily manufactured in Mexico.”

It was time to change this depressing topic so I focused on the Bucks County row office elections this year. Who will the Democratic and Republican parties pick to run for the Bucks Board of County Commissioners, the most important local race? Incumbent Commissioners Diane Ellis-Marseglia (Democrat) and Rob Loughery (Republican) are seeking re-election. Republican Commissioner Charley Martin is not.

So the Democratic County Committee will have to pick a running mate for Ellis-Marseglia just as the Republican County Committee must do for the GOP. Four candidates (two Democrats and two Republicans) will run in the November election. The top three vote getters will become the three-man board … thus ensuring that the minority party is represented.

A few weeks ago, I wrote that the Republican Party might gain an advantage if it could convince Republican Charley Martin to resign now and promote a favorite daughter or son to the bopard of commissioners for an interim appointment. There’s an advantage to running as an incumbent.

But that can be risky, just as it was in 1966 when the Bucks County GOP nominated Bill Kline, a Doylestown businessman, whom the court chose to ignore. That’s how a 32-year youngster from Quakertown (Charles Meredith) surprised everyone and became a county commissioner.

As I chatted with Dr. Campbell, the name of Gene Di Girolamo surfaced. Di Girolamo is a state representative from Bensalem township (18th District). He’s been a representative since 1994 and is a proven vote getter. But if he chooses to enter the primary as Rob Loughery’s running mate, the 18th District will have to look for a strong state House candidate as a substitute. Who might that be? We’ll soon see.

Anyway, it looks like the GOP will play it safe and let the spring primary sort it out.

And what will the Democrats do? Stay tuned.

Sincerely, Charles Meredith

By the way, next week, I’ll share some good news about Jane Grim, the Perkasie volunteer who will receive a major prize in March. The Bucks County League of Women Voters has chosen Jane as its woman of the year.