Focus on pill mills doesn't decrease the demand
We attended the third annual Faces of Substance Abuse Conference in Lexington with the hope of coming away with an understanding of how Kentucky is handling its epidemic problem of addiction.
However, we came away puzzled — and deeply concerned — at the lack of attention given to the issues of treatment and recovery.
Attorneys General Pam Bondi (Florida) and Jack Conway (Kentucky), the keynote speakers, talked at great length about their efforts to close the Florida pill mills that are clearly a problem for Kentuckians addicted to painkillers. However, the word "treatment" was barely uttered during the course of their presentation.
Yes, close down the pill mills, but until the disease of addiction is finally taken seriously, and appropriate treatment options become incorporated into their efforts, nothing will change.
There will just be other pill mills opening in their place, which is exactly what is happening in Kentucky as a result of the Florida shutdowns, as reported by Conway himself. Addicts need treatment.
Though the United States has 5 percent of the world's population, it houses 25 percent of the world's prison population; and 65 percent of those prisoners meet diagnostic criteria for substance abuse disorder. Only 11 percent get treatment while incarcerated.
There has been a 1,412 percent increase in drug-related incarcerations since 1980.
We must learn from history that the drug war has been a total failure. Until criminal justice starts working more effectively with treatment programs, the cycle of addiction will continue and lives will be wasted and lost.
Adrian S. Hooper Jr.
Color of greed
When I read George Will referring to Newt Gingrich's personal life as "colorful," (Burgoo, Jan. 24) I nearly choked on my Cheerios.
Evidently, Will has run out of euphemisms for serial adulterer and someone who is evidently a sex addict.
Don't you just love it when Republicans feel they don't have to follow the norms of society while espousing family values? In this case Gingrich stood up and lied, twice so far, when he took his wedding vows. He also was so heartless as to serve his first wife with divorce papers on her sickbed.
If a Democrat running for office shared this same "colorful personal life" the Republicans would insist they have his or her head on a platter.
Republicans, do not let these people fool you into believing they care about you or your family or family values. Think of the pain this man has put two Republican women through, so far, and Will has the temerity to call Gingrich's personal life "colorful?" Yes, Gingrich's current personal life is platinum blonde.
On the other hand, if Gingrich is elected I guess the Lincoln bedroom will be overbooked as, according to Gingrich's second wife, he wanted an open marriage.
I guess Will would also consider Gingrich's corrupt professional life also "colorful," but I think the American voters already know it was not "colorful" but greedy, a much more apt euphemism for career politicians, and Gingrich is greedy for more than just money.
I read with interest Jan. 24 the joint column by University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and University of Louisville President James R. Ramsey in support of anti-public smoking efforts. Commendable.
But the UK president shouldn't be concerned about the harmful effects of cigarette smoking because he's sitting on the answer. About 30 years ago, the then-called UK Tobacco and Health Research Institute promised to develop a "safe cigarette" through its cigarette-tax-funded research programs.
So, where is it?
I feel I must respond to "Give oil pipeline issue its due" by William G. Barr III. One should always consider the source when forming an opinion, and in this commentary on the Keystone XL Pipeline the source, Barr, is a co-founder and managing partner for an oil and gas exploration company.
The author mixes the words "export" and "import" as if they are interchangeable. The proposed pipeline will export refined crude oil to other countries as opposed to import oil to the United States for our use.
The author speaks to our country's need for a more secure source of oil. Well, if we are exporting it, how is that going to meet our need? Are we getting any oil from the pipeline?
The South Dakota Rosebud Sioux tribal president noted that a TransCanada pipeline has had 14 spills in North Dakota, consisting of more than 21,000 gallons of tar sands sludge, which is 16 times more toxic than crude oil.
Sen. Mitch McConnell led the effort to force the president to make a decision about the pipeline before the election. What a shame to politicize such an important issue to all Americans' health and food source.
Ask a Nebraska farmer how the pipeline will affect his crop. Ask the Republican senator from Nebraska why he wants it rerouted. Check out the facts about the jobs it supposedly will create.
As for corporations and politicians who say the pipeline is good for our country, who are they really looking out for?
The story about state Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo's housing code issues should not be about preferential treatment, but a lack of enforcement by housing inspectors.
In the Herald-Leader's back yard in Bell Court, a house on Boonesboro has been vacant for 20-plus years. I have spent the past four years calling and complaining to code officials to do something.
Their explanation is that they are doing everything they can, but I see nothing but a giant hole in the roof where the raccoons run in and out at night, and the rest of the house slowly falling apart. On most days, you can smell the rotting wood.
And don't get me started on this being a historical neighborhood where we have to build to some standards. It seems that if we need to be building to a standard, that we should also be doing what we can to maintain a standard. Doing nothing is not preservation.
We should be calling for answers from code enforcement for all properties, not just the famous houses.
On Jan. 25 front page:
The Courier-Journal in Louisville published the State of the Union speech (important to every citizen in the coverage area) as the lead story, below news of Oscar nominations and local entertainment teasers. The story was four inches from the top.
Journalism 101 grade: A-.
The Lexington Herald-Leader put the State of the Union speech below 51/2 inches of color teaser of Oscar nominee George Clooney, an armpit shot of University of Kentucky basketball player and stories about plans for Rupp Arena and the Occupy Lexington clearout. The story was 16 inches from the top.
Journalism 101 grade: F.
David O. Woolverton