Ryan Hirschhorn, 13, works on his art piece, “Hearts for Ukraine,” a tribute...

Ryan Hirschhorn, 13, works on his art piece, “Hearts for Ukraine,” a tribute to the war-torn country that led to meeting Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Credit: Alan Miller

Intimidated doctors wary of treatment

We have made great strides in reducing unnecessary opioid prescriptions in New York and across the country. However, efforts to address one problem can create a new one [“More patients on pain meds ‘dumped’ by their doctors,” News, Sept. 25].

The threat of sanctions from federal and state criminal authorities — not to mention state disciplinary authorities — has intimidated many physicians from prescribing opioids for their patients, even when their clinical judgment is that opioids are the most appropriate therapy for treating pain.

For example, the article says that Dr. Edward Rubin was investigated, and the authorities found no improper prescriptions. But such experiences leave a chilling effect on physicians like Rubin in evaluating and recommending the most appropriate options for patients.

We hope patients who need those very medications understand why so many physicians are often hesitant to write opioid prescriptions. Each such prescription could mean the end of their professional career.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s revisions to the pain guidelines in 2022 is a good first step, but it doesn’t go far enough. As physicians, our first and most important goal is to ensure the health and well-being of our patients. That will not happen if physicians can’t present patients with the best treatment options.

— Dr. Paul A. Pipia, Syosset

The writer is president of the Medical Society of the State of New York in Westbury.

Schools should mandate seat belts

The article “Big bus seat belt use in spotlight” [News, Oct. 1] noted that although seat belts are required on coach buses, their use is not mandated. But every district can require its students to use those seat belts.

As a retired teacher who took students on bus trips, after boarding a bus, I’d announce that anyone refusing to wear the seat belt can go back into the school. I walked down the aisle, checking to see they were fastened. Finally, I pointed out the escape windows and roof’s emergency hatch.

Safety need not wait for new laws. It should be done locally. Every school board should enact a policy requiring seat-belt usage. Parents should insist on it. Problem solved. Direct the administration to create a brief safety talk that teachers must agree to read on the bus or else their application for trips would be denied.

Young people are influenced by their peers. If others are not wearing seat belts, they won’t, either. If presented with no other option, my experience is that they will comply. All school boards and educators should create bus safety policies to avoid another tragic accident.

— Elaine Catalanotti, Elmont

We recently returned from Europe, where we visited several countries. Our tour company used buses throughout the trip, transporting our group between hotels and city tours.

At no time did any of those bus trips begin until all passengers buckled their seat belts.

Our tour guide told us that the driver and the bus company would both be heavily fined if we didn’t always use the seat belts during the trips.

Do Europeans protect bus passengers better than we do in this country?

— William Oken, Westbury

Ukraine artwork touches reader, too

I was touched by the story of Ryan Hirschhorn, an eighth grader who knows the meaning of selfless love [“Teen’s art touches Zelenskyy’s heart,” News, Oct. 1].

Ryan created a masterpiece of art that exemplifies the way we should all live.

Zelenskyy said, “ . . . what can be more convincing than when America’s children are eager to help defend freedom.” His concern and compassion for Ukraine should be recognized and celebrated by our own great nation.

This 13-year-old from Massapequa raised more than $200,000 to support Ukraine while our own government hasn’t shown a bipartisan commitment to do the same. We can all take lessons from this bright, introspective and selfless young man.

— Karen Musumeci, Levittown

Climate activists should rebel in China

Climate activists should protest in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, where the Chinese Communist Party meets [“Protests spark discussion,” News, Sept. 10].

Our then-President Barack Obama signed a 2014 treaty with China to cut fossil fuels to a sustainable level by 2025.

China itself consumes nearly one-third of the world’s fossil fuels. But like many protesters, these people usually pick on a democracy — ours — where they won’t be punished in a Chinese “re-education” facility.

— Robert D’Addario, Commack

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