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Short takes for Dec. 30

December 30, 2011
Marshall Independent

New drug on the way?

THUMBS DOWN: New pills that contain the ultra-addictive painkiller hydrocodone are currently being developed by drug companies, which leads us to wonder: Do we need another drug? And who decides what drugs we need? Four drug companies have begun patient testing, and one plans to market its product early next year. Critics are concerned about the drug Zohydro, which is a time-released drug meant to manage moderate to severe pain. If the new drug is approved by the feds, patients could legally purchase pure hydrocodone for the first time. The problem is abusers and addicts can turn around and crush it to release an immediate high. In essence, this drug could become the next OxyContin, a popular drug among abusers. Oxycodone, a generic to OxyContin, is the most abused medicine in the United States, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Vikings would've done well to

admit this was a rebuilding year

THUMBS DOWN: The Vikings will cap off a wretched season Sunday at home against the Chicago Bears, but don't assume it will be the last time they play at the Metrodome, now called Mall of America Field. Yes, the Vikings' lease at the dome is up come Feb. 1, but if the Legislature passes a stadium bill in 2012 the Vikings will more than likely play at the dome until the stadium is ready. Hopefully for Vikings fans, by the time they move into their new stadium (if they indeed get one) they'll be much better than a 3- or 4-win team. Because new stadium or not, teams that play as poorly as the Vikings did this season aren't worth the high price of admission.

Still in the brown

THUMBS UP: One last shout out for the weather, which gave us temperatures in the upper 40s on Wednesday. It's understandable for certain people to be frustrated over the mild, snow-free December that's soon to come to a close, but those people need to remind themselves that there is plenty of winter still to come - it will snow someday, folks. Mostly, however, the lack of weather we've been experiencing is welcomed by the majority - for those who commute to and from work, and for cities and counties that didn't have to dip deeper into their snow removal budget for 2011. Those budgets took a solid hit from the weather we experienced last January, February and March.

Senjem seems like good pick, but

damage control comes before stadium

SIDEWAYS?THUMBS: The overwhelming theme after the announcement that Sen. Dave Senjem would replace Amy Koch as Senate Majority Leader was how good it would be for stadium supporters. We can't argue that - Senjem is close to the Wilf family and is warm to the expanded gambling idea to help pay for a new stadium. But while the stadium will indeed be a hot topic during the 2012 session, let's not put all our stadium eggs in one basket - Senjem still gets only one vote last time we checked. It would be wise of Senjem to really prioritize things as the new majority leader - first, he needs to calm the rough waters that have all but drowned the Republican Party recently, and he must work to bring some stability and true leadership to the Legislature. He needs to put out some fires and restore credibility to the Legislature and his party before worrying about a stadium bill.



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