Rob Holmes

Rob is a graduate of the WORLD Journalism Institute’s mid-career course. Follow Rob on Twitter @SouthernFlyer.

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Furor over food stamps

Effective Compassion | New work requirement proposed to help recipients overcome poverty
by Rob Holmes
Posted 4/18/18, 03:48 pm

Critics of President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget proposal to change and reduce expenses in the national food stamps program now fear a proposal from House Republicans to expand work requirements for all recipients.

The backlash centers on a new stipulation requiring the same number of work hours for those with dependents as those without, though people caring for children younger than 6 would be exempt. The new work requirements would start in 2021 and increase from 20 hours per week to 25 hours in 2026.

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Associated Press/Photo by Ng Han Guan (file)

Online drug deals prop up opioid crisis

Effective Compassion | A new federal task force tries to stay ahead of narcotics on the darknet
by Rob Holmes
Posted 4/11/18, 04:39 pm

A new battlefront has emerged in the war on opioids, as dealers go online to peddle illicit drugs by mail. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said drug deals on encrypted portions of the internet, called the darknet, are “pouring fuel on the fire of the national drug epidemic.”

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Associated Press/Photo by John Minchillo (file)

Something old, something new—and deadly

Compassion | As prescription opioid use declines, fentanyl-laced drugs are on the rise
by Rob Holmes
Posted 4/04/18, 02:35 pm

A deadly mix of the synthetic opioid fentanyl with methamphetamine or cocaine is spiking the number of overdose deaths in Ohio and other states already hit hard by the opioid crisis.

Ohio’s county coroners say the trend of lacing meth or cocaine with illicit, lab-produced Chinese fentanyl—which can be mail-ordered online—creates a substance 50 times more powerful than heroin, which is cultivated and harvested from poppies.

“Today it is more lethal than it ever was,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said of the new concoction. “People don’t really know how potent it is.”

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