PITTSFIELD >> I get Donald Trump. Or, at least I understand why he's popular with a certain strata of citizens. This does not mean I endorse him or will vote for him. But I see the picture he's painting. I smell what he's cooking.

Basically, Trump is not afraid to make waves. Some of his rhetoric is downright repulsive, but when you listen to him, you know he means it.

His fellow candidates, especially on the Republican side, often seem to be mouthing platitudes, well, trumped up, by their speech writers.

Again, I'm not going to tell anyone to leap onto the Trump bandwagon. I'm not planning on it.

I don't see how, constitutionally, we can keep out any specific nationality of immigrants. I don't see how, legally, we can build a giant wall on the U.S.-Mexican border and somehow make Mexico pay for it (especially since the estimated price tag is in the billions of dollars).

But I wanted to understand his appeal — and not just write him off as a blowhard nutball. Because as it looks now, he may be the Republican nominee.

Addressing opioids

On a totally different topic, I'm glad Gov. Charlie Baker is trying to take steps to address the opioid situation in Massachusetts. This is a bipartisan issue and we can no longer sit around and blame liberals or conservatives for this issue. People are dying.


One of the things that has come of my continuing advocacy of more humane solutions to this issue is that I hear from a lot of people who have friends and loved ones who have to deal with this issue.

And I can reiterate that this is not completely a case of reckless kids or adults trying heroin at a party and becoming addicted. Many of the people with whom I talk tell me they or their friends or relatives had no interaction with any drugs before this. The problem was incurring an injury (in many cases a back injury), going to a physician for treatment and being prescribed an opioid painkiller.

In other words, it's not about personal responsibility. You have people who have placed their trust in a physician or medical facility, and been burned.

And in this case, the burn marks are wide and deep.

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.