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The true cost of Pa.’s addiction-treatment failure | Morning Newsletter

And, what we can learn from the flu vaccine’s impact on WWII.

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

Good morning, good people. You’re reading The Inquirer Morning Newsletter, catching you up on all the news that’s fit to email. Today we investigate the lack of clarity on Pennsylvania’s rules around addiction treatment funding and medical marijuana use, look at the difference in vaccine rollouts during World War II and present day, and take a deeper dive into the search for a new Philly school superintendent.

We’d love to know what you think. Send a reply to this email, and let’s start a conversation.

— Tommy Rowan (@tommyrowan,

In September 2019, the federal agency that pays out hundreds of millions of dollars to Pennsylvania each year to combat the addiction crisis began warning recipients not to permit “marijuana use for the purposes of treating substance use or mental disorders.”

Serious stuff in Pennsylvania, one of the few states to endorse cannabis as a treatment option for opioid use disorder.

But the rules weren’t as restrictive as they might have seemed.

A few months later — on Jan. 1, 2020 — federal officials sent new guidance to the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs that said people could still use medical marijuana as long as they worked toward alternative treatment options.

But for 17 months, the Wolf administration didn’t communicate the change with local drug and alcohol offices directly responsible for delivering services to Pennsylvanians, a follow-up Spotlight PA investigation has found.

The situation reveals a fundamental communication breakdown and an ongoing disagreement over accountability, specifically what responsibility federal, state, and county agencies had to one another.

Read the full SpotlightPA report.

As violence spread across Europe, U.S. officials were terrified that a flu pandemic would cripple the country’s ability to fight and win World War II.

A federal commission, headed by Jonas Salk and Thomas Francis Jr., developed the first flu vaccine during the war. Efforts so crucial to the American campaign that research updates shared front-page space with battlefront updates from the European theater.

Writer-at-large David Gambacorta spoke to Salk’s son, historians, and World War II survivors about that moment in time — when vaccines were seen as a welcome breakthrough for public health, and not a polarized political issue.

Read the full report.

Reopening resources

  1. Here’s our latest list of restaurants, large performance venues, universities, and gyms in the Philly region where you need to show proof of vaccination.

  2. Here’s where to get a COVID-19 test in the Philadelphia region.

  3. What are the symptoms of breakthrough COVID-19? And when should you get tested?

  4. Here’s what you need to know about medical exemptions.

  5. The most effective double-masking strategies.

What you need to know today

  1. The search for Superintendent William R. Hite Jr.’s successor will begin almost immediately.

  2. A Doylestown woman who recorded herself during the storming of the Capitol saying she was looking for Nancy Pelosi “to shoot her in the friggin’ brain” pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal misdemeanor.

  3. Pa. State Rep. Kevin Boyle, who was arrested Friday on charges of harassment and violating a protection-from-abuse order, was allegedly assaulted by another prisoner at a Northeast jail.

  4. Doctors and analysts say telemedicine, which grew in popularity during the pandemic, is here to stay. But the price patients pay for the convenient virtual visits could change.

  5. In texts to his mother, a Fox Chase teen on trial for murder threatened to stab his ex-girlfriend. Weeks later, he allegedly kept his word.

  6. Tower Health is selling Chestnut Hill Hospital and more than a dozen urgent care centers and is closing Jennersville Hospital in Willow Grove as it attempts to offset massive losses.

  7. The Delaware County jail, the only privately run facility of its kind in Pennsylvania, may soon return to county control after years of debate.

  8. And thank heavens: finally, a cold front.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Picture perfect, @yellas_lens.

Tag your Instagram posts with #OurPhilly, and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature here and give you a shout-out.

That's interesting

📬A beloved Delaware County mail carrier, who is retiring after 37 years of service, received a surprise send-off during his last week on his Lansdowne route.

👋Well, shoot. Ben Simmons, reportedly, “is done” in Philadelphia. Apparently the pairing with 76ers superstar Joel Embiid has ”run its course.”

💍Philly’s JDog Junk Removal, a veteran-owned and -operated junk removal business, stars in new the Discovery reality show Operation Hidden Treasures.

⚾How do the Phillies get back to the playoffs? Here are the scenarios that would end the nine-year drought.

🍽️LMNO, restaurateur Stephen Starr’s new Baja Mexico-theme bar-restaurant, will open in a former marble and granite warehouse beneath the Market-Frankford El at Front and Palmer Streets on Oct. 6.

❤️Meet Sisterly Love, a group of female entrepreneurs who banded together to help one another power through the pandemic, and empower their hospitality business communities.


“Three weeks into the NFL season, the Eagles are 1-2, and no one knows yet where they are headed and where this head coach might take them. That’s a scary place for a team to be,” writes sports columnist Mike Sielski in light of the Eagles’ Monday night loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

  1. The School District of Philadelphia has been on the cutting edge in creating policy to support transgender and gender-nonconforming youth, writes teacher Maddie Luebbert. But he’s pushing for more, including a dedicated district position that would specifically oversee school climate and policy for LGBTQIA students.

  2. Conservative writer Chris Tremoglie predicts “that any GOP candidates fighting against mask mandates in Philadelphia or the surrounding suburbs will likely be defeated in the upcoming November election.”

What we're reading

  1. In Philly Mag, a first-person essay about baby boomers who are stuck with heirlooms and mementos they can’t give away.

  2. Philly’s own Will Smith graces the November cover of GQ, and the accompanying profile covers a lot, including his new memoir and his complicated relationship with his wife.

  3. In the New Yorker, a look at efforts to restore an African American burial ground in North Carolina, and the deep conflicts the restoration efforts have exposed.

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