More than 10 years ago, in the early days of what has become a full-fledged, nationwide opioid epidemic, Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood was Pennsylvania’s biggest market for legally prescribed opioid painkillers. My colleagues dug into the data to find out how opioids became such a big business in the neighborhood. And, last night was the first of two presidential debates this week for Democrats. The big takeaway from night one: the battle between liberal and moderate. Also, you might want to grab an umbrella this morning. The Philly area could face more thunderstorms today as the end of the heat wave nears — sort of.

For years, Kensington has been home to an open-air illicit drug market. But more than a decade ago, in the early days of what would become a nationwide opioid epidemic, Kensington hosted another market, one for legally prescribed opioid painkillers.

The Inquirer analyzed sales data from a Drug Enforcement Administration database. In it, my colleagues found that between 2006 and 2012, more painkillers were sold to pharmacies in and around Kensington than nearly anywhere else in Pennsylvania.

While pills alone don’t account for the entire drug crisis in the Philadelphia neighborhood, the data show how prescription drugs impacted an area that was already primed for a crisis.

The Trump administration is proposing changes to the food-stamp program that could result in about 200,000 Pennsylvanians and 250,000 New Jerseyans losing benefits.

The changes to the program would stop allowing low-income working people that make somewhat more than the poverty level to receive assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

The newest changes were rejected by Congress in December, but the administration is able to make them by going through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Chester Hollman III was in court for the first time yesterday since a judge freed him from prison two weeks ago for a wrongful murder conviction. While there, he finally heard the words for which he waited 28 years: All charges against him were dropped.

“I apologize to Chester Hollman," an assistant district attorney said. “I apologize because he was failed, and in failing him, we failed the victim, and we failed the community of the city of Philadelphia.”

Hollman was originally found guilty by a jury in 1993 of murder and related charges of robbery, conspiracy, and possession of an instrument of crime.

What you need to know today

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

While it is called the “18th Century Garden," we agree that staring at this picture will never get old. Thanks for the shot, @onelaneswitch.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s Interesting


Democratic Primary Debate round II
Bruce Plante/Tulsa World
Democratic Primary Debate round II

“In a tweet on Monday morning, Attorney General Josh Shapiro called the shooting in Elmwood 'everyday’ gun violence and the shooting in Gilroy a ‘mass shooting.’ The implication is that there is something normal or routine in 20-year-olds being shot while filming a music video — while a mass shooting is a completely unpredictable event that targets the truly innocent.” — The Inquirer Editorial Board writes about the shooting this weekend in the Elmwood neighborhood of Southwest Philadelphia.

What we’re reading

A young woman poses inside the popular Cookie Room where you can snap photos while enjoying the aroma of fresh-baked cookies.
Courtesy of HAPPY PLACE
A young woman poses inside the popular Cookie Room where you can snap photos while enjoying the aroma of fresh-baked cookies.

A Daily Dose of | Instagram Pop-Ups

A 15,000 square foot Instagram-ready interactive exhibit will open at the King of Prussia Mall this fall. Tickets will go for $30 a person.