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Seeking more accountability

Dear Editor:

Accountability is totally lacking from the Wolf-declared “opioid emergency.” The AP article reports that in a “90-day disaster declaration” Pennsylvania has given 5,700 doses of Naloxone and there were 4,600 deaths in 2016 and more in 2017. How many names are on both lists? I worry that we don’t know.

A state official declared this as “a whole government, whole community response.” Really? Compare this with the question I ask all campaigning judges about young offenders: Where are their parents, scout masters, coaches, pastors? Relationships work better than governments.

LBJ’s “War on Poverty” spent more than $22 trillion (three times the cost of all our wars). Depending on the data you use; the problem is 10 percent better or has gotten worse with spending exploding 16 times on 80 programs. Even without the data, responsible citizens know we still have a huge marginalized population not contributing to our society or to solutions.

Why will the state’s response to this emergency be more effective? The list of state’s “efforts” lacks accountability. Does it stop 30-day prescriptions? Does it punish offenders in the dependency chain? Does it teach the risk in all our schools?

Accountability is what I see in my mid 70-year-old cohorts. Most of us have had shoulder, knee, hip or other surgeries and our common experience is we took one to five of our 30-pill prescription, destroying the rest. We aren’t Spartans or saints, but we aren’t stupid.

Of course, we need to help the addicted, but another Band-Aid program is not likely to fix the fundamental problems. Let’s ask why there is such a great disparity between cautious and abusive use of this dangerous drug ... and then how we address that. Let’s start returning personal responsibility and social accountability to our communities.

Ray Porter Boiling Springs

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