Open-air drug markets might fuel the opioid crisis in America’s big cities like Philadelphia. But in the suburbs, there is a quieter source of addiction that prosecutors in Montgomery County are ready to go after. Back in Philly, diners clad in all white did plenty for the gram during last night’s Dîner en Blanc.

Ron Januzelli lifts his sleeve to reveal a tattoo dedicated to his mother in Conshohocken, Pa. on Thursday, August 15, 2019. Marlene Januzelli died 14 years ago, after a prescription overdose while being treated for an opioid addiction. KRISTON JAE BETHEL / For The Inquirer
KRISTON JAE BETHEL
Ron Januzelli lifts his sleeve to reveal a tattoo dedicated to his mother in Conshohocken, Pa. on Thursday, August 15, 2019. Marlene Januzelli died 14 years ago, after a prescription overdose while being treated for an opioid addiction. KRISTON JAE BETHEL / For The Inquirer

City neighborhoods are falling victim to open-air drug markets as the opioid crisis takes hold. But suburban prosecutors are turning to what they believe is a silent, yet persistent, source of the problem: ‘rogue’ doctors.

In the last 18 months, five doctors in Montgomery County have been charged with improperly prescribing powerful opiate painkillers. Of those, three have pleaded guilty.

District Attorney Kevin Steele has an entire unit devoted to pursuing these doctors. "The difference between street dealers and these doctors is they’re wearing a white coat. They’re certainly not practicing their Hippocratic Oath, and we can see why,” he said. “Greed.”

There are a lot of moving parts. Philadelphia’s Dîner en Blanc goes into the planning phase well before we hit optimal picnic temperatures. It starts February. Secret locations are pitched and shot down, volunteers are gathered, and plans are put in place to ensure minimal disruption to city services.

The all-white dinner party kicked off in Philly in 2012, with its latest installment taking place last night at Boathouse Row. Since its Philly debut, the city has become the largest U.S. host city, drawing 6,000 ticketed guests. While the fan base for the wildly Instagram-able event is huge, so is the list of detractors.

Of all the names tied to Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged trafficking of underage girls that appear in court documents, one is familiar to clergy sex-abuse victims in Philadelphia: George J. Mitchell.

Better known for his stints as a former Senate majority leader and a U.S. special envoy, Mitchell until May had led the board overseeing the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s compensation fund for those abused by priests. Mitchell has denied the claims and his accuser has offered few details of their alleged encounter.

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Sexual harassment? Call the Philadelphia police!
Signe Wilkinson
Sexual harassment? Call the Philadelphia police!

“Ross has been a staunch defender of the department and its officers. He has also been one of the few adults in the room when Kenney and District Attorney Larry Krasner have, in my opinion, unfairly impugned the reputation of the police. ... To conclude now, without further evidence, that he allowed an employee to be abused simply because he was a jealous, territorial man is hasty character assassination, something we see too often in this post-MeToo era.” — Columnist Christine Flowers on the resignation of former Philadelphia Police commissioner Richard Ross.

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