Experts fear that poorly designed government policies could make a bad situation worse when it comes to North Carolina’s opioid epidemic. Carolina Journal’s latest cover story highlights the experts’ concerns. Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson shares details from the CJ report. Free trade has taken a hit in recent public policy debates. Bryan Riley, senior analyst in trade policy at the Heritage Foundation, explains why free trade continues to play an important role in American economic growth. Riley rebuts dubious claims about the negative impact of trade. One of the most popular statistics in debates about public education is per-pupil expenditure, PPE, the amount of money spent for each student in the public schools. Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union, says an undue focus on PPE bothers him. He says the statistic can prove misleading in a fast-growing state such as North Carolina with a relatively young teaching work force. North Carolina has a state law designed to boost public access to government records. The state could take steps to boost that law’s effectiveness. That’s the argument from Elliot Engstrom, fellow at the Elon University law school. Engstrom discusses current challenges facing people who use the state public-records law today. North Carolina sets up multiple regulatory obstacles for people trying to get jobs. A recent Institute for Justice report shows that this state places a higher-than-average number of barriers in place for people seeking low-paying jobs. Another report explains how licensing barriers hamper people with criminal records who are trying to re-enter the work force. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, responds to the reports and offers recommendations for reducing unnecessary barriers.