Your article "Probe of 5 drug deaths" [News, Feb. 1] is a reflection of the hold that addiction has on our communities. Law-enforcement officers work hard to track the distribution chain and cut it off, but people who are addicted will continue to pursue other options unless they get help.
Treatment access has become very difficult in a misguided effort to curtail health care spending. Insurance companies say the outcomes for those who go into treatment are often poor, and they won't readily pay for it. Unfortunately, relapse is sometimes part of the recovery process and shows how strong addiction can be.
We would not tolerate insurance companies denying cancer treatment because there is potential for relapse. Sometimes insurers make decisions based on the negative publicity they would get if they denied care to people with cancer.
Addiction is sadly not viewed the same way. We must reduce this stigma by continuing to educate the public about the nature of addiction and how it destroys lives and families. Health care providers should take the same aggressive approach as with any other treatment-resistant disease.
Kristie Golden, Stony Brook
Editor's note: The writer is the administrator of Stony Brook University's Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science.
Death penalty and bombing suspect
It is interesting that you question Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to seek the death penalty for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, but you don't question the timing of Holder's decision ["Death penalty and Tsarnaev," Editorial, Jan. 31].
Tsarnaev is half Chechen. Was the Obama administration looking to incite the Chechens further just one week before the Olympics begin in Sochi? I don't believe that President Barack Obama has the interests and safety of American athletes and citizens attending the Olympics as a priority.
Rosalie Smith, Island Park
Your editorial was a fairly typical response to the Justice Department's decision to seek the death penalty in the Boston Marathon murders. However, as a Catholic who believes that life from the moment of conception to natural death is to be respected, I agree with you for once.
Pope John Paul II, soon to be canonized, made it clear that the death penalty should be used only when there is no other means to ensure the safety of the public. Obviously, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev does not qualify for the death penalty under that moral standard.
However, as a retired member of law enforcement, I understand that the threat of the death penalty is a powerful tool in securing a guilty plea.
I find it frustrating that many death penalty abolitionists do not seem to be morally conflicted about the innocent unborn babies who have been aborted in this country since the Roe v. Wade decision.
Robert Olson, Baiting Hollow
I could not disagree more with your editorial that the death penalty is not an apt punishment for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. You state that capital punishment cases are costly. So would be the incarceration of Tsarnaev for 60 years. You also claim that little would be gained by putting him to death.
Execution in this case is not about deterring others from a similar act. Our society has no problem exterminating rats infected with contagious disease or vermin deleterious to the public health. Tsarnaev has proved to be a virulent infection in a civilized society. He has earned and deserves the death penalty.
Harold Goldman, East Meadow
Super Bowl Blvd. too packed for fun
What a disaster! We went to the Super Bowl Boulevard event in Manhattan on Saturday, only to be stuck around 38th street in a crowd of at least 100 people trying to get through ["Boulevard of superlong lines of fans," Sports, Feb. 2].
People were yelling to let us get through, while the police wouldn't let anyone move. Then Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared, shaking the hands of the people in front.
We were stuck like sardines for what seemed like forever. Then the people in the front started to walk back through the crowd, stating that there was now going to be a news conference and no one would be allowed through.
We got to the NFL Boulevard at 1 p.m. and were back home on Long Island by 3 p.m. What a disappointment.
Patti Graef, New Hyde Park
Potholes abound on local roads
I recently drove 20 exits east on the Long Island Expressway, and what a marvel! I didn't encounter a single pothole.
Why is it that major roads in Nassau County, such as Jericho Turnpike and Glen Cove Road, have bone-jarring holes that could break your car's axle? What are our government officials doing?
No wonder that poor fellow in Levittown has taken to filling his local potholes with sand and tar ["Road warrior," News, Jan. 30].
Joyce Tobkes, Jericho