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Letter: Don't demonize doctors over opioids

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman, of the Southern District

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman, of the Southern District of Ohio, left, and Brian Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division, right, answer reporter's questions during a news conference alongside members of Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force on April 17, 2019, in Cincinnati. Credit: AP/John Minchillo

With the busts of dozens of doctors on charges of illegally prescribing 32 million pain pills, the spotlight is on physicians more than ever for their role in igniting the opioid epidemic [“60 people charged in illegal prescriptions,” News, April l8].

In New York State, strict legislation and process changes have been implemented to regulate the dispensing of narcotics and prescribing practices. As noted in the April 21 Newsday news story “Opioids put docs under the microscope,” many physicians are deciding against prescribing opioids for fear of losing their medical licenses or serving jail time. This is problematic for doctors, who do not want to see their patients in pain, and for patients who are addicted and may lose access to pills.

In response to reports of psychological distress and suicide among such patients, on April 9 the Centers for Disease Control issued a clarification to its 2016 guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain to suggest tapering patients off drugs and not abruptly halting of prescriptions.

Yes, doctors have played a role in America’s opioid epidemic, but we need to partner with and educate them instead of demonizing them. If we don’t, the consequences will be disastrous.

Andrea Bianculli,

  North Massapequa

Editor’s note: The writer is administrative director of the Department of Surgery at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore.

In the wake of the Mueller report

What would you do if you were wrongly accused? Would you sit back and take it, or fight? President Donald Trump is a fighter. Further, no one followed through on his directions to end the special counsel’s investigation [“The Mueller report,” News, April 19].

Now Democratic Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff and others will waste another two years of taxpayers’ money proving nothing, except to keep Trump in a bad light. Trump doesn’t need their help with that.

The bottom line is that Trump’s administration cooperated with Robert Mueller’s investigation, it never claimed executive privilege, and when it viewed the report, it never asked for redactions to be made. Trump could have ended the investigation but didn’t because he knew that would political suicide.

Bernie Bienwald,


Newsday’s editorial on the Mueller Report is excellent [“Mueller makes his case,” April 19].

Your conclusion that further investigation should follow is wise and offers a minimal but prudent course of action. Every American should be saddened by the level of proof Mueller offers concerning the Russian interference in our democracy.

The actions described pertaining to the potential obstruction of justice would be an unacceptable standard for any citizen of this country. When they are attributed to the president of the United States and involve actions perpetrated by a foreign government, it should frighten every American to the core, regardless of political persuasion.

While it might be difficult to continue to investigate this matter, people need to keep in mind that our democracy was, and is, under attack.

Anyone who reads the Mueller report and concludes that this is how the presidency should function hasn’t read the Constitution. Anyone who reads the report and believes the current occupant of the Oval Office is acting in the best interests of the country dishonors every previous president.

I struggle to understand how no criminal indictments were made, but I do know that Donald Trump is unfit for this office.

James Conner,

  Rocky Point

A supply of nitrogen is guaranteed

Creation of an inlet to let nitrogen-free ocean water into the Great South Bay is an example of “dilution is the solution to pollution” [“Helping to save the Great South Bay,” Opinion, April 22].

In my opinion, this is kicking the can down the road. Opening a new inlet might help in the short term, even with a water-treatment plant nearby. However, we are going to produce nitrogen no matter what. Every flush makes a difference, and I fear that our population already is too high. You can’t tell people not to live here.

Tom Stock,


More support to raise limit on tax exclusion

Amen to the reader who wrote that it is long past time for the New York State Legislature to increase the tax exemption for private-source pensions to $60,000, particularly in light of the fact that pensions from the New York State and Local Retirement System are not taxed by New York State [“NYS tax exclusion is overdue for a raise,” Letters, April 22].

This situation is patently absurd. A pension is a payment to enable retirees to live out our lives with a reasonable sense of security, and the source of that pension should not matter.

The state should take immediate action to fix this clearly unfair law.

Stuart Chamberlain,

  West Sayville