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OpinionLetters

Letters: Focus more on addiction treatment

Newsday has had many articles on the opiate pill and heroin epidemic on Long Island ["Law would give addicts best chance at recovery," Editorial, March 10].

I am a mother of an addict in a treatment program. I appreciate the articles on how heroin works. I also learned through Newsday how heroin is infiltrating Long Island without regard to wealth, friends or family structure.

However, I have not seen enough written about treatment centers, in-house rehab centers or hospitals. I would like to read the perspectives of the staff members of these institutions. Do the hospitals treat addicts as vagrants? Do they know how badly they are suffering? How do they treat overdose victims?

I also believe that more coverage would educate judges and lawyers. In my experience, they don't always understand addiction and the havoc it causes. Or if they do, they don't have the proper tools to help addicts.

Donna Daniels, Garden City

I am so sad after reading about more young people dying of a heroin overdose. I fought this terrible disease for three decades, and I know how heroin can wrap itself around you, smothering the life out of what was once a "normal" person.

Even though I am clean, I could relapse at any moment. I will be fighting this disease for the rest of my life. It is the hardest fight I have ever fought.

To anyone fighting this disease: Get help. If it doesn't work once, then do it again! There is no shame in relapse; it is part of recovery.

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are wonderful programs that provide support and help.

Nancy Siragusa-Lebron, Selden

Rookie police prove bad shots

It's commendable that the two officers who just graduated from the police academy had such courage and straight thinking in pursuing two men who boarded a bus in Brooklyn without paying ["Farebeater shoots cop in leg," News, Feb. 27].

It's also a shame that between the two officers, neither could shoot straight enough in seven shots to hit the perpetrators. They are lucky. With all those bullets flying, innocent bystanders could have been injured or killed.

It is my recommendation, as it should be Commissioner William Bratton's and Mayor Bill de Blasio's, that these two officers go back to the shooting range to practice hitting targets on the first or second shot.

Alan Schneider, Woodhaven

Harsher penalties for illegal driving

Once again we read about a crash in which drug use and underage drinking were cited ["Ex-varsity star faces DWI, drug charges," News, March 5].

I ask Newsday to follow the alcohol trail. Police allege that the 20-year-old was able to get enough alcohol so that she was charged with driving while intoxicated, among other offenses. Where did she get it? Where did she consume it? And were those people held accountable?

If we want to have any real impact on this issue, we must hold all responsible parties accountable. This requires following the alcohol trail wherever -- and to whomever -- it leads.

Judi Vining, Long Beach

Editor's note: The writer is the executive director of the Long Beach Coalition to Prevent Underage Drinking.

Here we go again: A man was stopped for speeding, and it was discovered that his license had been repeatedly suspended ["License suspended 105 times," News, March 5].

What is the limit to suspensions before a judge realizes that this person should go to jail? How can drivers feel safe knowing another driver can possibly have 105 license suspensions and still be on the road?

A license suspension does not prevent a person from driving, but incarceration does. Our system allows people to escape the punishment they deserve.

We must make our state legislators aware that harsher penalties should be given instead of just license suspensions.

Sanford Schneider, Island Park

Autism responses often misunderstood

I applaud former Chief Judge Sol Wachtler for his op-ed, "We must stop criminalizing autism" [Opinion, March 3].

Autism is a developmental disability that can be misunderstood or misread as mental illness, in ordinary moments or in times of crisis. Better understanding of this disability by law enforcement is necessary to protect and serve a vulnerable population. This simply can't happen fast enough.

Individuals with autism are often misunderstood or misread. They often are verbally limited and don't make eye contact. Empowering police officers and others with a better understanding would help lift the veil of mystery that surrounds these people.

Bea Huste-Petersen, East Islip

Editor's note: The writer is the founder of EJ Autism Foundation, an education and fundraising organization.

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