State misguided on approach to drug abuse
Kentucky faces a prescription-drug abuse crisis that Gov. Steve Beshear rightly described in his congressional testimony in Washington recently as "the fastest growing, most prolific substance abuse issue facing our country."
That's precisely why Kentucky lawmakers rightly resisted proposed legislation during the 2011 session of the Kentucky General Assembly to require prescriptions for purchasing cold and allergy products containing pseudoephedrine — an ingredient used to make methamphetamine, a highly addictive and terribly destructive drug.
Why do some law-enforcement officers vow to keep fighting for this misguided approach when, if enacted, it would exacerbate our most serious drug-abuse problem? The proposed policy would also remove the current real-time tracking system known as MethCheck, which blocks 10,000 grams of potentially illegal sales of meth ingredients each month.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
Pharmaceutical companies implemented and funded the MethCheck system, saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. While we may not have "won" the meth war, we are containing it as law enforcement officials have the tools to find and shut down more meth labs than ever.
What answers might the private sector come up with that could offer more success than the government solutions that have failed to curb the prescription-drug abuse crisis?
Bluegrass InstituteBowling Green
The primary is a few days away. After comparing the Democratic candidates for secretary of state, I will vote for Elaine Walker. Her qualifications impress me.
Walker made a positive difference in Bowling Green, Kentucky's third-largest city, while serving as mayor for two terms. Though greatly outspent, she was elected by a large majority. Through tough economic times, she helped add 58 small businesses in her city and 5,000 new jobs.
Mayors around the country noted her accomplishments, for they elected her to the Board of Trustees of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Attesting to her leadership qualities, she was also chosen as chair of the Women Mayors of American Cities. Further, she was voted one of the Top 15 "Greenest Mayors."
As a small business owner herself, she knew the impediments to starting a new business. Once mayor, she streamlined the application and information process by creating a "one-stop" web site, enabling speedier start-ups for new businesses.
Now as Kentucky's present secretary of state, she is currently working on a comparable simplified and efficient process statewide.
As secretary of state, Elaine Walker is responsible for Kentucky's election system. She works well with the county clerks. Her personable, supportive style will readily build confidence and cooperation.
I hope you will vote for Walker.
I recommend you consider voting for B.D. Wilson for commissioner of agriculture in the May 17 Democratic primary. He is an experienced, proven leader who will do an outstanding job for our commonwealth.
No Medicare vouchers
Republicans seem to believe people 55 and older are as selfish as wealthy GOP contributors.
After a huge backlash, even from their own supporters, to their plan to force Americans under age 55 to buy from for-profit insurance companies with vouchers, they are trying to reassure people like me (over 55) that we won't be affected, that only our children and grandchildren will face the for-profit medical decisions of the insurance bureaucracy.
Apparently, Republicans think most of us don't care what happens to our families. Why would any insurance company, whose reason for existence is profit, be willing to insure seniors whose health care needs will only get more expensive?
At some point under "Republicare" (as opposed to "Obamacare"), our children will face life-threatening medical problems which the insurance bureaucracy (would that be a death panel?) will not pay for, and they can't afford. Let's not try to spin this; they will die.
This is the reason Medicare was created. Certainly, Medicare needs reform. But why don't Republicans support common-sense solutions like paying for voluntary end-of-life counseling, negotiating drug costs, supporting reforms in how services are paid for (outcome based instead of per service) and cracking down on the fraudulent claims by doctors and medical suppliers?
I'm sure medical professionals have many more ideas on how to decrease costs with better outcomes and preserve Medicare as we know it for our children. Oh wait a minute. There's an additional trillion-dollar tax cut for the wealthy in "Republicare."
Now it makes sense.
Social Security woes
For those who don't read theirs, I quote from my last Social Security statement: "In 2016, we will begin paying more in benefits than we collect in taxes. Without changes, by 2037 the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted and there will be enough money to pay only about 76 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits. We need to resolve these issues soon to make sure Social Security continues to provide a foundation of protection for future generations."
Contrary to both parties' rhetoric about government spending, the issue is the percentage of our population that is elderly relative to those still working. The percentage of elderly will continue to grow significantly. This is compounded by a stagnant economy that generates less tax revenue. Some incomes have flourished while others have declined.
We all must try to understand how and where our government spends money rather than listen to the flaming partisan rhetoric. We must raise taxes and/or cut spending, across the board, to pay our debts to protect our country from foreclosure —most likely both.
This country will only work if its citizens make an earnest effort to educate themselves, preferably with unbiased information. Sticking our heads in the sand will not make the problem go away. And, near as I can tell, the increases in military spending have paralleled the increases in welfare spending.
Big (screen) picture
A couple of years ago, I wrote a letter about Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Now other letter writers are talking about that movie and It's a Wonderful Life.
I have yet to see anyone saying anything about Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn. Before long I will have all of you Romancing the Stone. You Republicans, conservatives and Tea Partiers should lighten up.
You act like you are the only ones walking the face of the earth. There are us poor people who need help from the federal government.