Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, December 31, 2016

MVNews this week:  Page B:4



DICK Polman

Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 31, 2016 




Mountain Views



Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Kevin Barry


Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Merri Jill Finstrom

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Renee Quenell

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten



I didn’t know the young man well — I’d hired him to do 
some handyman work around my house — but it was awfully 
unpleasant to learn that he died at 24 with a needle in his arm.

 It was a bad batch of heroin. The statistics will tell you he 
was one of the thousands of people to die from heroin addiction — a problem that 
is growing fast.

 What the statistics can’t tell is that the young man was smart, talented and worked 
hard. He had a wonderful work ethic and tremendous pride in his work. He could 
have gone on to college or mastered any trade. His addiction took it all away.

 I had no indication he’d been struggling with this addictive drug — just as 
countless thousands of people from every walk of life are struggling with heroin 

 According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “nearly 80 percent of heroin 
users reported using prescription opioids prior to heroin.” That is, they begin by 
using prescription medications, such as such as OxyContin, a morphine-like drug. 
They begin one of three ways: They acquire the drugs from family or friends or they 
are prescribed the drugs by a doctor.

 In the 1960s, addicts tended to be street users who lived in impoverished 
neighborhoods. Today, addicts include soccer moms, business executives, and high 
school kids from suburban communities.

 Once addicted, many users switch from prescription drugs to street heroin. Why? 
Because street heroin is only about 10 percent the cost of prescription medication, 
which can run up to $80 a pill.

 As heroin floods into the country from places like Mexico and Afghanistan, lives 
are being destroyed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 
nearly 13,000 Americans died in 2015 from heroin overdoses — 2,000 more than the 
prior year.

 In 2015, according to the CDC, for the first time, more lives were lost to 
heroin overdoses than to gun homicides. Just eight years earlier, gun homicides 
outnumbered heroin deaths by more than 5 to 1.

 The powerful addictiveness of the drug is driving these statistics. Like any drug, the 
more heroin the addict uses, the more he needs to experience the same high. If the 
addict stops using, he’ll go through a world of hurt: depression, nausea, jitteriness 
and extreme flu-like symptoms.

 Most addicts can’t bear the symptoms, so they keep getting more heroin.

 Those with money have the means to fund their death spiral. The odds are that 
they’ll keep buying more heroin until they finally overdose fatally — as happened to 
actor Philip Seymour Hoffman a few years ago.

 Those who lack the funds frequently steal from family members or break into 
homes and businesses to fund their next fix — a bank a half-mile from my suburban 
home has been robbed four times in the past 18 months by heroin-addicted young 

 The only hope for addicts is that they get professional counseling and make it 
through a few weeks of painful detox. Even under the best-case scenario, they will 
be addicts for life.

 The only hope for the country is that we take aggressive steps to deal with the 
heroin epidemic. The Obama Justice Department issued a three-part strategy last 
autumn — prevention, enforcement and treatment — to crack down on drug dealers 
and provide more treatment to help get addicts clean.

 President-elect Donald Trump has promised to take aggressive steps to address 
the challenge. He pledges to stem the flow of heroin that is flooding across our 
borders, though he hasn’t yet issued any specific plans.

 Whatever the case, in 2017 we have to make a concerted effort to address this 
horrible epidemic. Otherwise, it will continue to devastate lives, families and 
communities all over the country.

Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood” and “Wicked Is the 
Whiskey,” a Sean McClanahan mystery novel, both available at, is a 
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist.


Relax. Now breathe. And repeat. 

 The nonstop madcap insanity has finally reached its red and green holiday crescendo 
and its all downhill from here. Don’t know if it had anything to do with the earth-
shaking, democracy-twisting events of November 8th, but people were extra special 
amplified crazy this particular solstice season. Like frothing-at-the-mouth wacky. 
Hair-tearing bonkers. Nuttier than the Planters Hospitality Suite at a Flying Squirrel 
Convention crazy. 

We salute all you stalwart consumers for navigating those Demolition Derby parking 
lots in the honorable quest of sinking heavily into debt to celebrate the birth of that 
Jewish hippie kid. 

 Anticipating the flash of horror across your face when the bills float in from the 
mail, let us offer up our annual WILL DUR$T’$ XMA$ GIFT WI$H LI$T. These are 
the presents that folks presumably did not find under their tree but most certainly 

 For Vladimir Putin: one of those extra long telescoping leashes to control his new pet. 

For Ronald McDonald: an extended vacation until the creepy clown sightings subside. 
4 years ought to do it.

 For Melania Trump: a couple of grey hairs to give her some gravitas. Cuff & collar.

 For Kim Kardashian: an itinerary of Melania Trump’s movements so she can study 
up for 2024.

 For Donald Trump: who is proud of saying anything that flies into his head: a tiny 
rabid West African Ruby- Throated Hummingbird.

 For Speaker of the House Paul Ryan: a whip, a chair and thigh high boots for when 
he has to deal with the Executive branch.

 For Elizabeth Warren: a set of portable Klieg lights to stay front and center for the 
foreseeable future.

 For Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy & Stephen Breyer: the finest health 
care available.

 For each Democrat in Congress: a 55 gallon drum of Vitamin D to put a little spine 
in their spine.

 For Billy Bush: a job in the Trump administration’s protocol division where all he 
does is follow POTUS around saying “The Donald scores again.”

 For Kellyanne Conway: a nap. Starting to look a little ragged around the edges.

 For Anthony Weiner: a one-way ticket to a deserted South Sea Island populated 
mostly by poisonous snakes and omnivorous snails.

 For Huma Abedin: a closed circuit camera recording every second.

 For Roger Ailes: an appointment with the same counseling group now attended by 
Bill Cosby.

 For the American Public: a case of antacid in order to get through the heartless 
pummeling the spineless cheered on by the clueless.

 For the new host of Celebrity Apprentice, Arnold Schwarzenegger: his own kill 
phrase, something like, “You won’t be back.”

 For British Prime Minister Theresa May: A copy of the Kama Sutra to discover a 
position that will allow her to twist out of Brexit.

 For Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto: a wall on the border to control our 

 For Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: same thing.

 For Samsung: the quick introduction of the Galaxy VIII.

 For Rudy Giuliani: a muzzle. Permanent. Steel. Welded with titanium rivets.

 For Bashar Al Assad: something quick and painless: heart attack in bed. 

 For NATO Commanders: a gift subscription to the Coffee of the Week Club. Decaf 
option declined.

 For Hillary Clinton: proof.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comedian and former 
assistant manager at a Pizza Hut in West Allis, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal 
appearances, go to 

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