It is hard to believe that a treatment organization such as The Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) of Maryland could turn a discussion about the opioid epidemic into a partisan discussion, but that appears to be the case.
RALI is holding a forum on the Opioid Epidemic at Perry Hall High School on Thursday, Oct. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. Some of the guest speakers expected at the event are County Executive Don Mohler, State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger, state Sen. Kathy Klausmeier and Delegate Eric Bromwell. All those elected officials are Democrats and Bromwell’s Republican delegate colleagues Joe Cluster and Christian Miele were not invited to the event, along with 5th District Republican councilman David Marks.
“Bipartisan, inclusive leadership is needed to eliminate the opioid epidemic in Baltimore County and throughout our state. Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, Delegate Joe Cluster, and I hope that the sponsors and organizers of tomorrow night’s community forum in Perry Hall reconsider their decision to only invite elected officials from one political party to participate,” Miele said in a social media statement.
Miele, Cluster and Marks sent out a letter to RALI of Maryland requesting an invite to this forum for this important and non-partisan issue.
Another participant of the event is John Torsch, who is from the Daniel Carl Torsch Foundation. The foundation is named after John’s brother Daniel who passed away from an accidental drug overdose in 2010. He promoted the event on a Perry Hall community Facebook page. Torsch was also a Democratic candidate for county council in the spring and is unaware why Republicans were not invited to the forum.
“That’s a question for the organizers of the event. I’d love to see more elected officials on both sides of the aisle speak up about the addiction epidemic and actually do something about it,” Torsch said on social media.
Councilman Marks, who could have potentially faced Torsch in November defended Torsch and commended him on his work.
“John is a good man, and I have learned a lot from him. I am still learning. He is a participant and not the organizer,” Mark said about Torsch.
The problem with having a nonpartisan event a month before the election is that many people are in a political frame of mind on both sides. There was a person who questioned why Kathy Klausmeier was even invited.
“Just say No to Klausmeier!” said a commenter to Torsch. He appropriately responded that the event is about saving lives.
“I tell you that more than 300 people died from drug overdoses last year in your area. We’re on pace for even more this year. And all you can say is “say no to Klausmeier “? That’s just sad. This isn’t about left or right. It’s about life and death. Baltimore County is losing,” Torsch said.