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Letter: A lot spent on pets as people go hungry

Kelly Franké, left, holds her dog Thumper, and

Kelly Franké, left, holds her dog Thumper, and Madison Fender, with her dog Carlos, shop recently at Harbor Pet in Greenport. Credit: Randee Daddona

At Thanksgiving last year, I heard about food drives for people who are less fortunate. I repeatedly heard the question, “How could people still be going hungry here in the 21st century?”

After reading “You lucky dog” [Business, Jan. 20], about how millennials (Americans 23 to 38 years old) spend $67 billion on their dogs, I wondered what other age groups spend. Sixty-seven billion dollars could feed a lot of people. I like dogs, and they do deserve our love and care, but maybe folks could spend a little less and help their fellow human.

Another disturbing point in the story was when someone said having a dog is “the best preparation” for starting a family. “I can’t imagine having a kid will be that much different,” a 30-year-old woman said.

As pretty much any parent can attest, having and raising children is nothing like raising a dog for so many different reasons that I have neither the time nor space to explain.

Michael Seewald, Manorville

Credibility was lost in media rush to report

Columnist Cathy Young’s take on the confrontation between American Indians and Catholic high school students from Kentucky in Washington on Jan. 18 was a fair assessment of the well-televised staredown at the Lincoln Memorial [“A showdown in America’s culture war,” Opinion, Jan. 24]. But I take issue with her conclusions.

Should there be a winner or loser assigned in this episode? Democrats? Republicans? No. I believe the losers are the American public. It is the media’s rush to post sensational videos without properly vetting the back story. In this age of instant gratification, the reputable news agencies are giving away credibility to keep pace with their online counterparts.

As a retired police officer, I apply a tested work technique to any story that comes my way: Believe nothing you’re told and only half of what you see.

Jimmy Grippo, Nesconset

Opioid crackdown hurts some patients

The 35 percent reduction in opioid prescriptions on Long Island from 2011 to 2017 might not be something to celebrate [“LI opioid prescriptions plunge,” News, Jan. 21].

I’m a health care professional, chronic pain survivor, pain patient advocate and avid proponent of alternative pain treatments. I believe many pain patients experience harm from overly liberal use of opioids. However, the way opioids are being reduced is causing great harm to pain patients and their providers. Physicians are being forced to treat pain patients with very limited tools while being threatened with loss of license and criminal prosecution if they write high dose prescriptions.

This is causing physicians to abruptly terminate or rapidly taper prescriptions for long-term opioid-dependent patients with severe pain, while offering effective alternatives. Pain patients going through opioid withdrawal and facing uncertain futures are turning to riskier street drugs or suicide. We need to make sure that pain patients have affordable access to alternative pain treatments such as medical marijuana, acupuncture, mind/body medicine, massage, chiropractic and other nonpharmaceutical treatments and that these treatments work for them before gradually reducing their medications.

Cindy Perlin, Delmar, N.Y.

Editor’s note: The writer, a clinical social worker, is author of “The Truth About Chronic Pain Treatments: The Best and Worst Strategies for Becoming Pain Free.”

Try harder to reduce and recycle waste

I agree with R. Lawrence Swanson and Carl Safina of Stony Brook University that rethinking our waste stream is important [“There’s value in recycling’s setback,” Opinion, Jan. 22].

Suffolk County residents get very clean tap water, and can carry it in reusable containers, no plastic bottle needed. Screw-top glass jars can be reused for storing food, etc. All one has to do is look when they throw something out and ask, Is there a way to reduce the waste stream? Is there some other use for the item?

Tom Stock, Babylon

We have new recycling rules for weekly pickup in the Town of Smithtown: One week is paper and cardboard; the next is plastic and cans. There is no more glass collection.

When we go to the Municipal Services Facility on Old Northport Road in Kings Park to deposit our glass, there are small bins that seem to indicate not many people are doing this. Many people might be tossing the glass in with regular garbage. No recycling there!

Wouldn’t it work to have three recycling collections: the two mentioned above, and glass collection the third week? This way, more glass would be recycled instead of going to a landfill. It doesn’t seem that that would create a big storage problem for residents, and we would all be helping our environment.

Linda Kay, Kings Park