- Associated Press - Monday, February 27, 2017

Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:

The (Toledo) Blade, Feb. 24

For the last several years, Ohio has wrestled with how to control a heroin epidemic that has decimated families and left scores of children orphaned.

Part of the solution may have just been provided by China, which has banned the manufacture and sale of fentanyl and carfentanil, the synthetic opioids fueling the rash of overdose deaths in Ohio.

China announced the decision on Feb. 15, after six months of talks between United States and Chinese officials.

Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Russ Baer called it a potential “game-changer” in the so-far losing battle against the heroin scourge.

His statement is not just hyperbole from a government official.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid about 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine. Dealers mix it into their heroin to give the drug a bigger kick and stretch supplies. Two milligrams of it can be lethal. Carfentanil is an animal tranquilizer that is 100 times stronger than fentanyl. The synthetics are so powerful that drug-sniffing dogs can die by inhaling them during a search.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations has seen a huge spike of the synthetics’ presence in the state. In 2016, BCI had 2,396 positive test results for fentanyl, up from 1,110 in 2015. There were 214 positive carfentanil tests last year…

Online:

http://bit.ly/2mmyOM7

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The (Warren) Tribune Chronicle, Feb. 23

Why should Americans pay more to defend our European allies than taxpayers in most of their countries are willing to bear?

That- not whether Washington should abandon NATO to the not-so-tender mercies of Russian leader Vladimir Putin -is the question President Donald Trump has been asking since before he took office.

Yet to hear the outcries from several European capitals, you might think Trump is ready to stab NATO in the back.

Comments made by Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary James Mattis during visits to Europe have been widely reported as reassuring the Europeans of our continued military support. But that never really has been in question.

Both men made it clear Trump is not planning to end U.S. participation in NATO. His comments during and after the election campaign have focused on the unfairly high proportion of NATO support paid by American taxpayers.

Both Pence and Mattis emphasized while in Europe that the issue of paying for NATO is not going away.

It should not. Only five of the 28 countries participating in NATO spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic products on defense. They are the United States, Great Britain, Poland, Estonia and Greece…

Online:

http://bit.ly/2kVichG

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The Columbus Dispatch, Feb. 23

With an executive order, President Donald Trump has launched what aims to be a massive deportation of people who are living in the United States illegally. This raises a number of questions, including:

Has the order been thought through any better than the recent one that attempted to stop the flow of refugees from seven Middle Eastern and African nations?

Does the government possess anywhere near the resources to carry out such a plan?

Has the administration sought advice and buy-in from all those who will be tasked with carrying out the order?

Has the president consulted with Congress to make this part of a larger strategy for dealing with illegal immigration?

Has the administration considered the economic impact of deporting millions of productively employed workers?

Is the administration ready for the onslaught of criticism and outrage as the painful human cost of these actions becomes apparent?

Why the rush?

There are an estimated 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States, down from a record high of 12.2 million in 2007. They make up just 3.5 percent of the nation’s population and 5 percent of its workforce. As of 2014, 52 percent were from Mexico, with the remainder from Asia and Central and South America…

Online:

http://bit.ly/2mmI8Q9

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The Akron Beacon Journal, Feb. 24

Death is different. The state answers “yes” to the question framed by Dan Malarcik, a defense attorney: “Do we deserve to kill?” As Stephanie Warsmith, a Beacon Journal staff writer, showed in a series of articles last weekend, different also means complicated. Prosecutors see an obligation under the law to pursue a death sentence, the state’s elected representatives having approved capital punishment. Defense attorneys amplify doubt. Jurors must weigh the ghastly crime against the mitigating factors of a killer’s past.

Who is the “worst of the worst”? What is closure? What if the state makes a mistake in concluding it deserves to kill?

As Warsmith pointed out, the Summit County prosecutor’s office has brought 10 death penalty cases since 2014. Just one has concluded with a death sentence. Jurors, here and across the state, increasingly have opted for life without parole, an alternative available the past decade. That trend has invited discussion about whether to continue with capital punishment, especially in view of the public expense, another part of death-is-different.

The complications have deepened as Ohio has struggled with its protocol for lethal injection, the most recent execution, three years ago, proving problematic. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will examine the state’s latest combination of three drugs during a hearing early next month…

Online:

http://bit.ly/2lEPxue

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