Letters to the Editor

Letters to editor: Nov. 7

Patients suffer as doctors fear pill crackdown

We have all seen the articles about Kentucky's prescription drug problem, but the real problem is how our legislators have handled the situation.

House Bill 1, the "pill-mill bill," has left Kentuckians without proper pain management for chronic illnesses such as cancer, fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy, interstitial cystitis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, chronic pain from failed surgeries and a host of other illnesses.

The law has instilled so much fear in Kentucky's doctors that they have been releasing patients at an alarming rate, shipping them off to pain clinics or merely refusing to treat them any longer. As a result, many people have been left without doctors for months at a time.

Even when people are lucky enough to be accepted into a clinic, they have to wait hours to be evaluated, then told to make another appointment weeks later.

When they come back, they wait again for hours just to be told by the doctor that he is restricted from prescribing what he knows you need.

Our lawmakers are playing doctor instead of our doctors actually treating their patients. Comments voicing concerns have been submitted to Attorney General Jack Conway's Facebook page, but these comments continue to be deleted and people banned from posting.

Narcotic pain medication is not the problem in Kentucky; the problem is our lawmakers think they know more than our doctors about health care.

Charity Sheeks


Racism's sway

The prosecutor — maybe through incompetence, but probably on purpose — threw the George Zimmerman case.

A letter writer on Oct. 9 claimed that no racism was involved in the shooting of Trayvon Martin (if you don't count Martin's hoodie, Zimmerman's rejection of the 911 operator's order to stay in his car and his statement that "they" always get away).

The letter writer said that if Martin had "not jumped Zimmerman he wouldn't have been shot." The source of this is the uncorroborated word of Zimmerman on the video, which the prosecutor, if he had wanted to prevail, never would have played to the jury.

Unsworn, out-of-court statements are proof only that those words were said, not that they are true.

Claiming self-defense, Zimmerman would have been compelled to take the stand had the jury not been furnished the video by the prosecutor. No competent judge would have permitted Zimmerman to play the video in lieu of taking the witness stand.

The letter itself might have exposed a little racism on the writer's part. Millions of white people perceived the Zimmerman shooting as grounded in racism.

The letter writer chose only the president, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the NAACP as those claiming that racism and profiling were involved in the shooting.

William C. Jacobs


False patriotism

A very insidious group is now coming from the pathetic underbelly of the far right.

A group so patriotic — and filled with love of country, as they constantly remind us — that they ridicule and demean our president and openly root for the president of Russia.

Many show such reverence for the former KGB official that they openly desire that he be our president instead of our constitutionally elected leader.

Their irrational hate of the so-called "Kenyan usurper" is so deep that they would rather have a Russian or Canadian or anyone other than President Barack Obama.

They write with glee about how Russian President Vladimir Putin, "owned" Obama and made him look like a fool. The situation in Syria is complex and dangerous; it is not a game of H-O-R-S-E.

The United Nations has now passed a resolution declaring that Syria must remove its chemical stockpiles immediately. Responsibility for getting this done now rests on the backs of the Russian president; he owns it.

Despite the vote by Congress, the president has assured the world that force is still on the table and will not be removed until the chemical weapons are gone.

So, no millions of dollars worth of ships or aircraft will be launched, no Americans will be on the ground in harm's way, no new war for the United States, no soldiers returned from Syria in body bags, no innocent civilians killed.

Only in this new hate-filled, illogical, right-wing crazy world — where up is down, and down is up — is this considered a failure.

Tony McCoy


Protect military

In reference to an Oct. 13 item in the Herald-Leader, "Talks yield deal for troops to stay in Afghanistan past '14":

Immunity from prosecution under Afghan law for U.S. military personnel should have been the first item on the list, not last, for current talks between Secretary of State John Kerry and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.

Our position should be that Afghanistan will not have any legal jurisdiction over any U.S. military personnel serving in that country.

If Karzai is uncomfortable with this position as was stated in the article, and his loya jirga, the group of Afghan elders selected by the government to make decisions on matters such as this, cannot agree with this position, there is no need of any further discussion and the United States will not extend its stay in Afghanistan.

Our military has always operated with other countries under a status- of-forces agreement that contains an immunity clause. We cannot cave in to any government wanting us to reduce protection of our military personnel.

Edward A. Geilear

retired Army lieutenant colonel


Science squeezed

As a Ph.D. student at the University of Kentucky I am investigating the effects of environmental pollutants on human health. I am lucky to have been part of a productive laboratory for the past four years.

We have been funded continuously for more than a decade by a Superfund Research Program grant through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

These large multiproject grants allow for exceptional interdisciplinary training and are awarded to some of the most prestigious universities. Access to this funding has allowed me and my colleagues not only to determine the role environmental pollutants play in diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, but to develop and communicate protective measures to citizens.

Unfortunately, with the large decrease in the overall NIH budget due to sequestration, many of us fear that our work may need to be downsized or halted, and that we will not be able to enter an academic career. This would hurt not just our careers as scientists, but also the lives of people in regions such as Appalachia.

If we want to continue to lead the world in scientific ingenuity, eliminating the sequester would be a necessary step in the right direction. I hope there will be government funding available so I can continue my passion in academic science and solve human health issues that affect Kentucky and beyond.

Michael Petriello


Special-election letters

Letters about candidates in the Dec. 10 special election for the 13th Senate District are limited to 150 words and must be received by 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2. Letters from candidates, their campaign staffs and family members will not be published