Opioid deaths reveal precarious recoveries, more school money in Pa. budget | Morning Newsletter

Happy Monday, Philly, and welcome to another week. This morning’s top stories will leave you with a mixture of sadness and hope today. First, the life and death of Jessica Ney is a parable of the perils of opioid recovery. Her death soon after rehab puts the challenges facing those in recovery in sharp relief. In other news, colleges around the country, including some close by, are preparing for a new cohort this fall: students with intellectual disabilities. New programs are opening up previously unheard of opportunities and students can’t wait to get started. Speaking of education, on Friday Gov. Wolf signed a new budget which has some great news for Pennsylvania schools. All this and more ahead, let’s get to it.

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— Aubrey Nagle (@aubsn, morningnewsletter@philly.com)


She was just out of rehab. She was excited about the future. Three hours later, she was dead.

Camera icon BRADLEY C BOWER
Jayne Grickis is shown with a collage of images of her daughter Jessica Ney at her Bernville, PA home Tuesday June 12, 2018.

The story of Jessica Ney is unfortunately all too common. She went to rehab for a heroin addiction and was excited to restart her life thanks to local programs that helped her find a place to live.

But at just 28 days (with insurance declining to cover a longer stay), the rehab program wasn’t enough and she refused medication-assisted treatment. Just a few hours after she left, she died of an overdose.

Ney’s story isn’t just common, it illustrates one of many reasons the opioid crisis has such a grip on the region. Drug recovery is incredibly precarious and high quality care is hard to come by.

More colleges enroll students with intellectual disabilities

This fall, 270 colleges including 13 in Pennsylvania and six in New Jersey will welcome students with intellectual disabilities full-time. In 2004 there were just 25 such programs.

At West Chester, students will audit undergraduate classes, participate in internships, and get support from peer mentors.

The programs aren’t without their challenges, but it looks like there’s a wave of change coming to higher education.

Gov. Wolf signs budget, Pa. approves $60 million for school safety

While you were celebrating the beginning of the weekend on Friday, Gov. Tom Wolf was celebrating the approval of an on-time spending plan negotiated with the state’s Republican-controlled legislature.

The good news: the plan involves no new taxes or fees. The bad news (at least for Wolf, per his requests): there’s no increase in minimum wage or tax on natural gas drillers, either.

The budget includes $100 million more for public schools plus $60 million in new funding that school districts and community groups can apply to for safety and security improvements. 

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Camera icon Signe Wilkinson
June 24 ,2018

“Yet, with all the city’s needs, like a stubborn 26 percent poverty rate and epidemics of gun violence and opioid abuse, it’s worth asking whether this is the best use of the city’s public and private resources. — The Inquirer Editorial Board on the impact of Philly’s new $10.3 million Rail Park and its potential for increasing gentrification.

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Your Daily Dose of | Balance

Paddle board yoga may seem too adventurous for every day, but local classes come with one great motivator: if you don’t strike the right pose, you’ll fall in the Delaware River.