Surgeon general wrong; addiction is not a disease

Surgeon general wrong; addiction is not a disease

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy’s statement that drug addiction is a disease and not a character flaw is not true. As someone who lived in the Bronx for 45 years and saw many of my friends die of drug overdoses, I know from experience that drug addiction is not a disease but a moral failure.

Is smoking a disease, is alcoholism a disease? Can you buy a disease from a store or from a drug dealer? Obviously these addictions are sins, and these individuals have chosen to take a substance that they know is dangerous and can kill them.

People make choices in life, and some are good and some are bad. Some people learn from their mistakes or the mistakes of those around them, and some people just don’t care if they hurt themselves or the people they love.

To tell people that their addiction is a disease is to lie to them and make them believe that there is nothing they can do to end their addiction. Those who call this addiction a disease are deceived and have no common sense, and they also make money saying that they can help these addicts with their so-called disease.

As long as people believe that addiction is a disease, they won’t take responsibility for their choices and actions. Pretty soon they will call rape and child molestation diseases and that the individuals that do these despicable things are not responsible for their actions. They act like the perpetrator is the victim, and this is not true.

Our society has turned into a society of victims where no one is responsible for their actions and people are making money by claiming their actions are caused by a disease that they have no control over.

This is not true, and anyone can change if they trust God and let Him change their lives.

Leo Feher, Youngstown

Cartoon on Medicare cuts is found highly offensive

I cannot believe that you would be so crude as to publish the “cartoon” on the editorial page of Sunday, Nov. 20, showing Donald Trump and Paul Ryan preparing to slit the throats of two people symbolizing Medicare and Medicaid.

Cartoonist Bob Englehart should be ashamed of himself for creating it and putting it out for publication. I am all for good humor and sarcasm, but the ISIS theme is neither. I would guess he has not served our country.

As an editor, you should have refused to lower the standards of The Vindicator and not have published it. I’m sure that Mr. Englehart made money from this. He should be reprimanded. He surely is intelligent enough to come up with a better way of expressing his criticism of President-Elect Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on the Medicare/ Medicaid issue.

That image was just stupid and disgusting, and even more so on a Sunday.

June Logan, Canfield

Set up committee to study revising Electoral College

We the people have a conversation every four years about dismissing the Electoral College in favor of election to our nation’s highest office by popular vote.

The primary disadvantage of the Electoral College is that it was fashioned for a different era, framed actually in the Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 2. It has been gently modified, extended, and perpetually criticized as essentially undemocratic and confusing to the general public.

Conversations do not move us forward and so I suggest appointment of an electoral commission to study, examine and fashion a popular-vote option for presidential elections to present to the White House, Congress, and the nation at large.

Jim Villani, Boardman

With IGA closing, Girard could become food desert

Santisi’s IGA in Girard has announced that it will close after 75 years of serving the community. A victim of insufficient sales, the closing means further job loss and a community lacking access to adequate food and nutrition.

Girard will now become a food desert, a low-income low-access area in which 20 percent of the population earns an income at or below the federal poverty level for their family size and 33 percent of the population lives more than a mile from a supermarket. Food deserts have considerable public-health impacts, leading to higher rates of obesity, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic problems.

The city is facing another setback, but now is the time for positive action, not retrospection. The citizens of Girard should urge their elected officials to seek out creative solutions like a co-operative. A co-operative food store would be owned and governed by its voluntary members who purchase a member share in return for a single vote on store-related matters. This is just one of countless possible solutions to solving Girard’s upcoming food desert problem. Now is not the time for thinking small.

Brian Pearson, Girard

Let us commit to ending divisiveness in America

This past election was the culmination of the past 25 to 30 years of increasing divisions and hatred in this country. For the sake of our country and our own personal well being this has to stop.

We need to focus on what we can agree on. I believe that 90 percent of us can agree on 90 percent of the issues. We need to honor and respect each other even if we don’t agree on everything. Politicians need to honor and respect the public. If they preach hate and division, they need to be turned out of office.

I can’t tell everyone what he or she should do. I can only say what I am personally doing. I’m praying for peace and harmony for this country. I’m also praying that Donald Trump can find the humility and wisdom he needs to be effective at this massive responsibility he’s taken on.

Edward Alleman, New Castle, Pa.

Treating heroin addicts with drugs unproductive

We, as a country, have a major problem on our hands. The problem is drug addiction, in particular heroin and opiate addiction. Most, if not all, of these people need help to quit and get their lives back on track. There are many treatment options available, two of which are Suboxone and Methadone. Are these treatments helping or hurting thosse who are on it?

There are pros and cons to this treatment. Addicts who decide to kick their drug habit through this treatment avoid the withdrawal they experience when coming off heroin. The main goal is to begin addicts on a high milligram dose and then gradually taper them off, until eventually, they no longer need this treatment. As Harvard explains in its mental health letter, this treatment cuts behavior for criminal activity, improves mood, and provides them with a sense of stability and positive outlook. This gives them hope on finding a job, and getting their lives back on track. Harvard estimates “25% of patients become abstinent, 25% continue to take the drug, and 50% go on and off Methadone repeatedly”. This does not seem very promising; these numbers do not inspire much hope.

This treatment might be considered as a drug substitution; a way that an addict learns to work the system. Addicts become socially, physically, and emotionally dependent on this treatment just as they were on their opiate of choice. They eventually cannot live their lives without it, mainly because they are terrified of facing the withdrawal symptoms.

We as country need to invest more money into counseling and rehab treatments, than clinics that are supplying a drug to a drug addict. We need to get to the root of this addiction problem and not just scrape the surface. These addicts need extensive and in-depth counseling and as a country we need to figure out the best solution, and in my opinion, this is not one of them.

Danielle Burnside, Lowellville

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