The Nassau County Legislature is considering a law to require police officers to ask people arrested for petty, nonviolent crimes whether they served in the military [“Nassau bill would assist arrested veterans,” News, Feb. 4]. The purpose would be to divert veterans to Veterans Treatment Court.
While this is a good step, the county and state need to go further to help veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Recently, the Government Accountability Office found that 62 percent of veterans discharged for misconduct had been previously diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury.
It is common for people with these disorders to abuse alcohol or drugs, which is called self-medicating.
Recognizing that veterans with these conditions need help, not incarceration, Erie County launched an innovative and incredibly successful Veterans Court. The intent is to place veterans in an environment where legal, military and health professionals can assist them, creating a specialist-run program for men and women with mental health needs. Suffolk County’s Veterans Court has a robust mentorship program. However, most counties don’t rise to the level of Erie or Suffolk. A statewide system with state funding needs to be put into place.
Janet Dolgin and Gary Port, Hempstead
Editor’s note: The writers are, respectively, the director of the Gitenstein Institute for Health Law and Policy and a visiting assistant professor at Hofstra University.
Another program for students with autism
I read with interest “Building bridges to life of higher ed” [News, Feb. 12], about colleges creating support and opportunities for students with autism.
I want to share information about another choice for students and their families.
New York Institute of Technology offers a Vocational Independence Program, a residential, college-based postsecondary transition program for young adults with learning differences and autism spectrum diagnoses.
Since 1987, this program has helped students develop skills and accumulate experiences that help them reach their social, independent living and work or college readiness goals.
This is a three-year curriculum that emphasizes social, executive functioning and independent living skills that young adults need for independence and success.
The Adelphi University Bridges program is wonderful for students enrolled as full-time undergraduates. My institution’s program is for students who might not be ready to be fully matriculated as undergraduates, but lets them live the college experience.
Paul Cavanagh, Freeport
Editor’s note: The writer is the senior director of NYIT’s Vocational Independence Program in Old Westbury.
Why does LI resist treatment centers?
Can someone please explain to me Long Islanders’ reluctance to have a rehabilitation center, or any kind of treatment center, in their midst?
We don’t live in some backwater, remote, regressive place. We like to think we are at the center of the universe in terms of information and innovation.
The people of Glen Cove do not want a place for women with eating disorders in their community [“A community so quick to say no,” Opinion, Feb. 12]. We also know that the nuns who want to sell the St. Ursula Center in Blue Point to the Seafield Center faced a hard time from that community.
Most people here have been touched by addiction. Suffolk County leads the state in opioid-related deaths. We all agree that addicts need help. So why the outcry of “not in my backyard”?
The rules in rehabilitation centers, whether for drugs or eating disorders, are strict. The people who are there want to be there and want help.
Years ago, when the state mental hospitals closed, group homes became a reality in our neighborhoods. We need to get real about helping our neighbors and support reasonable efforts to help sick people.
Jo Meyer, Center Moriches
Get rid of industrial development agencies
What an insult to the already overtaxed people of Nassau and Suffolk counties that we essentially pay businesses to come to Long Island [“IDAs under fire,” Business, Feb. 11].
This is done by granting tax breaks under the authority of industrial development agencies. If my taxes are going to help a business, I want shares. I want to be a stockholder — no free ride with my money.
Get rid of the IDAs. We taxpayers are at our limit. You want to do business on Long Island, great! Do it with your own money.
Anthony Tanzi, Mastic Beach
Don’t highlight names of mass killers
While I understand that mass shootings must be covered by the press, I don’t think multiple pages about the deadliest shootings are necessary [“Florida horror,” News, Feb. 15]. Horrific killers’ names should be scrubbed from history, not highlighted time after time.
Kevin H. Fox, Jericho