Re: Oct. 27 article, “Trump declares opioids a public health emergency.”
Upon reading this article I had a mix of feelings. I am in recovery from substance use disorder and was pleased to hear that the president was finally addressing the opioid epidemic in this country. Something I appreciated about this announcement was that President Trump made it personal by talking about his brother’s struggles with alcoholism. I thought this was a helpful strategy to reduce the stigma around substance use disorder.
Something I didn’t like about this announcement was that there was no proposed solution to the epidemic — and a solution to this crisis is desperately needed. The president’s announcement that this problem exists is simply not enough. The first steps that I would suggest to Trump would be to open more treatment centers and make naloxone more easily available.
HANNAH MILNE, AUSTIN
Re: Oct. 31 letter to the editor, “Trump’s opioid plan does not help solve problem.”
The writer says we need to stop pharmaceutical companies from pushing their drugs. I couldn’t agree more. About 10 years ago, I started keeping a tally of all the prescription drugs I saw advertised on TV. The list is up to 131 names, and it’s almost impossible to get through a commercial break without seeing at least one such ad. Obviously the ads pay off handsomely for the drug companies that buy them.
Only two countries in the world allow direct marketing of prescription drugs to consumers: the U.S. and New Zealand. How about Congress pass a law banning such advertising like we did for cigarettes?
MARY E. MILAM, AUSTIN
Re: Oct. 21 article, “Plan would demolish Arbor cinema, Manuel’s to build apartments, shops.”
The proposed zoning change to be discussed Nov. 2 by the City Council that would eliminate the Regal Arbor Cinema at Great Hills is a terrible idea.
This theater has served not only the Great Hills neighborhood but Austin movie fans all over town for decades going back to the original Arbor. Regal Arbor programming remains unique. This is the only theater I can count on for current art house, independent and foreign movies that never show up at the Violet Crown, Alamo Drafthouse or Austin Film Society — even today.
After moving to South Austin, I still drive to the Arbor for movies. I know I am not alone in my affection and admiration for it. Adding a few screens somewhere else doesn’t make up for the loss.
This is a quality of life issue for me and many others.
BETSY TYSON, AUSTIN
The front page of the Oct. 22 issue of the Statesman offered a stark contrast between a progressive future and a stagnant past.
On one side was a photo of Georgetown GOP mayor Dale Ross — a strong proponent of renewal energy, and who actually has meaningful conversations with, of all people. former vice president and environmental champion Al Gore. Who would have thunk it? On the other side was U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, who represents the prevailing fossil fuel dinosaur wing of the Republican Party.
Then, there was the contrast between a city that actually works and does innovative things — as do many other Texas cities — versus a state government, led by Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who seem far more interested in potty patrol than in providing for good schools and other important state needs.
STEPHEN SHACKELFORD, AUSTIN
I hope my representative, John R. Carter, is listening to me when I and many of his constituents say scrap your plan to allow internet service providers to charge for preferential treatment.
These rules would destroy the open internet. I urge Carter to make a public statement telling the Federal Communications Commission to throw out its proposed rules and to preserve real net neutrality.
SARAH POLK, CEDAR PARK
Re: Oct. 22 commentary, “Dems to display extremism in blocking vote on abortion.”
Be grateful to the billions of women who had mostly illegal abortions, averting catastrophic famines, migrations and wars. Ovums are alive; so are plants and flies — and at some point, a hint of sentience evolves in the late, still parasitically living fetus, which is not a child.
As all animals, men care about themselves, their family, friends and people they are involved with — and beings they emotionally overvalue, such as unwanted dogs. Ethically, we are far from overcoming the horror of us-against-them thinking, which erases compassion for the “others.” That is why humans cruelly mistreat “enemies” and highly evolved animals — and why people like George Will have compassion for embryos but not women.
What is extreme about keeping governments out of women’s intimate lives? If conservatives were serious about decreasing the need for abortions, why do they oppose ready access to contraceptives? Who impregnates women anyhow?
HEINZ AESCHBACH, AUSTIN
Re: Oct. 24 article, “Prosecutors drop all remaining charges against Rep. Dawnna Dukes.”
The only way to keep the sad, painful saga of state Rep. Dawnna Dukes going would be for the voters of District 46 to re-elect her in 2018 — after she skipped out on more than half of this year’s session.
Voters, on behalf of everyone with an ounce of common sense, please make this bad dream end.
DON STRATMANN, CEDAR PARK