By Sen. Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi and Sen. Gene Yaw
Over the past five years, nearly 3,000 heroin-related overdose deaths have been identified in Pennsylvania. Overdose deaths in our state have increased by an astounding 570 percent, rising from 2.7 to 15.4 per thousand over the last two decades.
Nationally, more people aged 25 to 64 are dying from heroin overdoses than in vehicle crashes.
This epidemic affects individuals of every age, gender, race, and background. The increased use of heroin, which often has roots in the abuse of prescription painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin, has catapulted Pennsylvania to seventh in the nation for drug-related overdose deaths in the latest federal statistics.
By Josh Maxwell, Mayor of Downingtown and Democratic Candidate for State Representative, District 74
Over the last few years, higher education has become one of the most controversial issues facing our state. When Governor Tom Corbett unveiled his first budget in 2011, it included roughly $2 billion in cuts to education, including steep cuts to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). Colleges and Universities throughout the Commonwealth have raised tuition to all-time highs, and on top of that they had to make tough budgetary decisions that resulted in larger class sizes and the end of many popular programs on those campuses. Suddenly, the goal of providing an affordable path to a college degree has began to slip out of reach for many in our Commonwealth. But restoring these crippling cuts to the state system is only the first step in our mission to giving students every possible opportunity to succeed. We need to inject bold, new ideas into the debate on higher education here in Pennsylvania, and one such idea would go a long way towards the dream of a quality college education for all. Continue reading