OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in...

OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. as seen on Feb. 19, 2013. Credit: AP/Toby Talbot

The new $100 million tax on distributors and manufacturers of opioids in the recently passed New York State budget will amplify the extraordinary challenges facing people who suffer from long-term pain [“What the state budget means to you,” News, April 1].

Regardless of the rhetoric from Albany, this tax is a thoughtless policy with life-altering consequences. People in chronic pain will have to deal with reduced access to medically necessary prescriptions and higher costs for essential medications. It is very likely that many chronic pain patients will turn to the black market when they are unable to safely secure needed prescriptions. It is documented that some people suffering from severe pain turn to suicide when they cannot get medication. Unfortunately, lawmakers ignored these possible outcomes and instituted the tax, which opioid companies will pass along to patients.

The real drivers of the opioid epidemic are drug dealers and prescription abusers. And yet, elected officials have chosen to punish responsible people in chronic pain as if we are the criminals. I can only hope that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders will do the right thing and repeal this tax next year.

Stacey Udell,


Editor’s note: The writer has been a chronic-pain patient since 2012.


Taxpayers deserve to know about supt.

The Eastport-South Manor schools superintendent put on paid administrative leave on public tax dollars, but the reason is not given [“School district puts chief on unpaid leave,” News, April 17]. If it’s confidential, fine, put him on unpaid leave. But if he’s getting a check, taxpayers need to know why he’s on leave. It’s only fair.

Anthony Tanzi,

  Mastic Beach


Thoughts, prayers to the French

I visited Notre Dam Cathedral in June. Work being done on a tower resulted in smoke, which set off a fire alarm. Everyone was evacuated. One of the people there told us it had happened before, and people were concerned about safety.

I’m so happy we waited to go back in. It was an incredible visit. To think of all the potential loss is heartbreaking [“Notre Dame ravaged,” News, April 16].

Thoughts and prayers to the people of France. Perhaps this will help bring them together toward a common goal.

Sue Rose,

  East Meadow


Before our family’s first trip to Paris, we heard talk of Parisians being rude and reviling Americans. Instead, everyone we dealt with was friendly and helpful, and Paris was a joy. I wish I could be there to console Parisians on the damage to their beautiful cathedral.

Michael Quane,

  South Hempstead

Netanyahu crushes the two-state solution

When it comes to the Middle East, Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu appear to have been separated at birth. However, despite the duo’s similarly bellicose rhetoric, the Israeli prime minister is actually an eloquent, well-read leader with a deep sense of history [“More power for Netanyahu,” Opinion, April 12].

However, in controlling the Golan Heights and announcing the de jure annexation of the West Bank, he is on track to crush the two-state solution.

Jewish exceptionalism is one of humanity’s greatest treasures, especially the hallowed Judaic tradition of tikkun olam — repairing the world. And the state of Israel represents an oasis of democratic values in a region rife with desert tyrannies.

Yet zealotry in the defense of security (and hegemony) is hardly a virtue, especially when international law is violated.

Netanyahu may well become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. But if he truly wants to secure his place in history, he would be wise to turn to Marcus Aurelius for inspiration in forging an enduring modus vivendi with the Palestinians: “Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig.”

Rosario A. Iaconis,



Station-specific LIRR schedules are useful

Thank you, Newsday, for raising the issue of reduced printing of Long Island Rail Road schedules [“Paper cuts at the LIRR,” News, April 15].

The LIRR quietly discontinued distribution of station-specific timetables, which were fully subsidized by an outside company as an advertising tool. Commuters who don’t rely on digital information are left with large branch timetables, which are cumbersome. The station-specific timetables were fantastic. I always relied on them. They were the first to run out in stations.

This change epitomizes some of the culturally pervasive things wrong with the LIRR: secret changes and unilateral decision-making without commuter input.

If the LIRR wants to save money, it should drastically reduce production of the unpopular oversized branch timetables that cannot be used on overcrowded trains.

Michael Sullivan,

  Garden City