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OpinionLetters

Just Sayin’: Drinking, driving and death — an old story

A motorist is arrested at a holiday sobriety

A motorist is arrested at a holiday sobriety checkpoint in Port Jefferson Station. Photo Credit: Stringer News Service

It might be months or weeks from now, or maybe even tomorrow, but it will happen. We’ll read about another person killed on our roads by a drunken driver who will survive the accident unharmed.

A police officer will observe a stagger in the driver’s walk and smell alcohol. The driver will refuse a Breathalyzer test, so a judge will be called to grant permission to draw blood. The analysis will indicate a blood-alcohol level exceeding the 0.08 limit allowed for drivers in New York, and a charge of criminally negligent homicide will be lodged.

Grieving relatives will reflect on how wonderful the victim was, how he or she had generosity, decency and ambitions. The defendant will apologize. A statement of remorse will be read, starting with regret and ending with a plea for mercy.

It will, of course, be too late for sober reflection. The time for that is now — before drinking and driving.

Bruce Stasiuk, Setauket

Prescription-drug ads are unhealthy

Problems with and proposals to fix our broken health care system are almost nightly news. What you never hear about is what to do about the outrageous glut of pharmaceutical ads on TV.

Reactions to these ads range from annoyance to fright. Perhaps less clear is their impact on viewers’ health-anxiety or vigilance, a not insignificant threat to their peace of mind and health.

The ads prompt us to ask doctors about drugs in the ads. The so-called doctor-patient relationship is known to have healing properties separate from medications and procedures. There is no doubt the ads intrude on and likely threaten those relationships.

Prescription medicines should be marketed only to those who can properly evaluate them, not directly to consumers. That is the position of the American Medical Association. The lack of government oversight is an outright, if less than obvious, compromise of our general well-being. I suspect epidemiologists could find ways to measure the detrimental effect of these ads. Maybe then Congress could be persuaded to rein in the pharmaceutical industry.

Thomas V. Lysaght, Floral Park

Editor’s note: The writer is a retired clinical psychologist.

Simple forgiveness can go a long way

You know what’s really wrong with this country? It’s mostly lacking in forgiveness. Most people who are wronged seem to want revenge (which they often call justice) or they want money. What they don’t seem to want is to just forgive the person who wronged them. How sad.

Tom Adkins, Mount Sinai

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