Tony Luke Wants to Change the Conversation About Heroin Addiction

Tony Luke Jr. knows drug addiction. The cheesesteak scion was hooked on crystal meth as a teen in South Philly and his son, Tony III, died suddenly of a heroin overdose this past spring at age 35. Luke – born Anthony Lucidonio – has seen how addiction can fracture the once rock-solid bond of family first hand, and he hears how the general population treats addicts with such disregard.

“People want to talk about addiction like this is some choice,” an impassioned Luke tells Philly Mag. “NO ONE chooses to ruin my own life and everyone around me. Anyone who thinks that is an IDIOT – totally ignorant and misinformed. You can’t use a blanket statement like that and say it’s a choice. Because addiction is not always a choice and it’s very difficult to get away from. Sometimes it’s impossible.”

Tony III first started abusing drugs when a doctor overprescribed him opioids following an injury. Luke believes that we’re groomed to feel no pain in today’s society, with doctors feeding into that culture by freely handing out prescriptions and refills with only a hollow warning before sending us on our way.

“Just take what you need and stop when you get better – no one’s going to do that!”

After the pills became too expensive, Tony III eventually turned to heroin. He was found dead in the bathroom with a needle in his arm in late March.

“By telling my son Tony’s story, hopefully I can help people understand that drugs have no boundaries,” Luke says. “No matter a person’s circumstance in life, addiction is a possibility. And there is nothing for them to be ashamed of.”

With that thinking in mind, Luke announced a new initiative on Wednesday that he hopes will help remove the social stigma associated with heroin addiction. Luke encourages anyone who has suffered a similar loss of a loved one to wear brown and white (the colors of heroin) and post photos on social media using the hashtag #BrownAndWhite.

Luke stressed that #BrownAndWhite is simply an awareness campaign and he has no plans for fundraising.

“Growing up I knew drug dealers,” Luke says. “They always said ‘Hey Tone, it’s a business – if they aren’t getting it from me they’re getting it from someone else.’ What I want is for everyone who lost someone to put their picture in the window. That way when a drug dealer sees picture after picture he realizes it’s not a business. He’s feeding into a disease that these kids have no control over.”

Follow @jtrinacria on Twitter.

Pa. Senate OKs Bill That Would Allow Teachers to Carry Guns

guns

istockphoto.com, catnap72

The Pa. Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would allow teachers and other school employees to carry guns on school property.

After a heated debate, legislators approved Senate Bill 383 in a 28-22 vote. It would allow workers with concealed carry licenses to possess guns in schools if they meet training requirements and pass a psychological evaluation.

The legislation garnered harsh pushback from state senators who believe arming school employees would only exasperate gun issues and create dangerous situations.  Read more »

WATCH: Driver Runs After Crashing U-Haul Into NoLibs Restaurant

This is a developing story. Check back for more information.

A man driving a U-Haul truck plowed into a store at the Piazza at Schmidt’s in Northern Liberities this afternoon – and then proceeded to run away.

The driver, who police said is a 41-year-old man, crashed into the Urban Village Brewing Company at 1001 N. 2nd St. around 1 p.m., according to police.  Read more »

New High-Tech “Action News” Set Debuts on 6ABC

No need to adjust your antennas – something is different about the look and feel of Action News. Fear not, Jim Gardner didn’t shave his iconic mustache and the show’s theme song thankfully remains the same.

Instead, any dissimilarity you may have noticed while watching the program this week likely stems from the debut of Channel 6’s elaborate new set on Monday. Designed to bring Philly’s favorite news team more up to date, the new backdrop for Action News took two years of planning and execution, the station reported. Read more »

Wolf to Sign Bill Limiting Public Access to Police Footage

police footage

Gov.  Tom Wolf says he will sign a controversial Senate bill that would limit public access to police footage.

Under the bill, police footage (audio and video recordings from both body cameras and dashboard cameras) would become exempt from the state’s public-records law. That means police departments wouldn’t be required to release footage to those whose request it.

The state Senate passed the legislation without debate in a 49-1 vote Tuesday. Wolf says he will OK the bill despite reservations that it could limit transparency. The governor called Senate Bill 560 an “important first step” because it changes state law to enable police departments to use body cameras, specifically in private residences.

J.J. Abbott, a spokesperson for Wolf, said the governor is “signing this bill because it allows police departments to more widely use body cameras to increase accountability for the first time without concerns over violating state law, which have hindered deployment to date. He wanted greater transparency in the bill, but it was not included.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania opposes the legislation, which it said “undermines the goal of using body cameras as a means of accountability for police officers.”

“This bill effectively hides what is captured by police cameras from the public,” the organization’s executive director, Reggie Shuford, said in a statement. “And that makes [police cameras] merely another tool of surveillance.”

The state Supreme Court ruled earlier this month to make police dashboard videos public records. The bill would nullify that decision.

This story was updated to include comment from Wolf’s spokesperson.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.

It’s Time for Single-Payer Health Care

Photo by courtneyk/iStock

I frequently travel around the country meeting and speaking with business groups about issues affecting their companies. The business groups I speak to are located in places like Montana, Ohio, Nebraska, and Texas. Many of the attendees are farmers, manufacturers, distributors, and service providers. Most of them don’t live in big cities. And yes, like me, the majority of them lean to the right. Some even fall over.

Of course, health care is a major part of those discussions. And you know what I’ve found? We right-leaning conservatives actually have a whole lot in common on that issue with our left-leaning friends. OK, not with Lena Dunham. But more than you may realize. Read more »

Workers Dig Up Human Remains in North Philly

Philadelphia Police are investigating after workers found human remains in North Philadelphia yesterday.

A construction company found the bones at a digging site on the 1700 block of W. Atlantic Street in Nicetown-Tioga.  Read more »

Supreme Court to Rule on Sports Gambling in New Jersey

Photo illustration by Joe Trinacria. Photo of Christie by AP/Mark Humphrey.

In a move sure to please Philadelphians with deep pockets and easy access to the bridges, the U.S. Supreme Court announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to take on New Jersey’s appeal to legalize sports gambling at the state’s casinos and racetracks. Our country’s high court will review the case at an undetermined point during its term that begins in October. Read more »

Philly FOP Endorses Republican DA Candidate Beth Grossman

Philadelphia’s police union will endorse Republican Beth Grossman for district attorney.

The announcement follows an event Tuesday at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 headquarters in Northeast Philly, where both Grossman and Democratic DA candidate Larry Krasner vied for the union’s endorsement.  Read more »

FBI Wiretapped Johnny Doc, Councilman Henon for More Than a Year

johnny doc

John Dougherty, leader of Philadelphia’s building trades. | Photo by Jeff Fusco

Remember when the FBI raided IBEW Local 98 leader John Dougherty’s (a.k.a. Johnny Doc’s) house this past August?

According to a recent Inquirer report, that raid occurred more than a year after federal agents began wiretapping Dougherty’s cellphone – as well as Councilman Bobby Henon‘s – as part of an ongoing investigation into Dougherty and his union.  Read more »

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