Addiction and HIPAA
Blake Shuart’s editorial addressing the Drug Summit in fighting meth (Nov. 30 Eagle) struck a chord with me. I agree that the meth epidemic is not getting better, it is getting worse. I lost my son to suicide three years ago; the reason was addiction to meth. Until families are allowed to be a part of the treatment, the problem will continue. The roadblocks for my family in trying to help my son was his age, 22. Due to the HIPAA laws, I was allowed to pay for his treatment but was not given information such as what he was addicted to and how we could help. Instead, my son was able to deny the waiver at the treatment center; which then closed the door to his help. He was allowed to stay or go. He left with the desire to quit but the craving to use and ended the madness by suicide. I blame our system and the lack of communication for his death.
Having lived through this nightmare, it is my belief that once a person has this disease, he is not of sound mind and should not be given the choice to determine his future. Proper medication and communication between all parties should always be the treatment. HIPAA needs to back out when addiction is the “diagnosis/disease.” If I would have been given information, my son would be alive today because I would have kept him in the treatment facility.
Michele Hansen, Wichita
Energy and Carbon Act
The recent National Climate Assessment warns that many commodity crops — corn, soybean, wheat, rice, sorghum, cotton, oats, and silage — in the Midwest could suffer huge declines within this century due to intense heat and more extreme weather patterns. To avoid this, bold action on climate change is required now.
Bipartisan companion bills introduced in the U.S. House and Senate offer a big stride forward to that end. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act would lower carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent in 12 years and 90 percent by 2050, while at the same time create over 2 million new jobs, lower health care costs, promote energy innovation, and encourage consumer spending. By applying an increasing price on carbon emission, this policy would stimulate market-driven innovation in clean energy technologies. All revenue received is returned equitably to American people in the form of a monthly dividend, thereby protecting energy consumers and low- and middle-income households. The Kansas way of life, its agricultural legacy and the stable climate that bestowed it could become only memories if bold bipartisan action like this is not taken. Find out more at energyinnovationact.org.
Richard Cowlishaw, Winfield
Selfish views of the first two amendments to our constitution are dividing and killing us. Free speech has turned into disrespectful yelling, lying and belittling. Our president and politicians act like grade-school bullies. Civility and respect seems to be viewed as weakness. Disrespect is a cancer on society.
The means for a well regulated militia (with simple weapons) has morphed into anyone carrying any weapons they wish. We injure and kill thousands of our own with guns. Is this what our nation’s fathers wanted? With a mass shooting we briefly notice, and say, "ain't it terrible"! Some get a sick feeling inside, but it doesn't last long. It has become "normal."
What can we expect in a violence oriented, self centered, disrespectful, "me" society? The ideal would be our leaders modeling decency and respect, and making the well being of human beings their priority. But we know that is impossible. Power and narcissism rule. That leaves societal change up to you and me.
A wise man 2,000 years ago, and humanitarians before and after him, have tried to convince people to treat each other with respect. They have understood the downward spiraling, self defeating effects of disrespect and violence. Please make a Christmas wish, and new years resolution. Say "enough is enough!" And then travel the high road! We can't afford not to.
Jim Laney, Wichita
Once, after the election of Barack Obama as president, George W. Bush had the ex-presidents come to Washington and announce that they (ex-presidents and himself), wished Obama success.
I was surprised, as Obama had been critical of Bush many times.
When the letter from George H.W. Bush to President-elect Clinton was read on TV, the last line was “I will root for you.”
Increased my respect for presidents, both father and son.
Prem Bajaj, Wichita