Letters to the editor

NOPAIN Act should be supported by Indiana lawmakers

Sadly, the challenges of limited health care access, job losses and education woes, related to the pandemic were already all too familiar to rural communities living through an opioid epidemic. And while our state begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is reason to believe the fight against the opioid epidemic has only become more difficult.

Indiana saw a more than an 85% increase in opioid overdoses, and in one county alone, there were more confirmed HIV cases than all five boroughs of New York City. The devastating impact reaches far beyond the user. Rural employers report that they have positions that remain unfilled, because they aren’t able to attract enough candidates that pass an opioid screening, drawing the attention of large car manufacturers when determining where to invest or reinvest in facilities that employ thousands of Hoosiers.

Rural schools, already taxed, face new challenges as children born addicted begin to enter school, who without fault, bring with them drug induced learning, developmental and behavioral challenges. Further, Indiana has one of the highest numbers, per capita, of children in state custody, because of parents’ drug abuse.

The “hard honest living” rural Indiana is known for also makes it susceptible to abuse, and many people first experience opioids as treatment for work-related injuries and resulting chronic pain. Chronic pain combined with a known increased rate of depression, social isolation and non-medically necessary treatment restrictions we can only assume the epidemic has only deepened.

Pain management is an essential function of hospitals, but rural areas in particular often struggle affording medications out of pocket. The NOPAIN Act aims to ensure Medicare covers non-opioid prescriptions that could save thousands of lives, both in Indiana’s rural communities and statewide. That is why we encourage Indiana’s leaders in Washington to pass this legislation quickly and help Indiana’s rural communities slow the curve on the opioid epidemic.

Don Kelso, CEO, Indiana Rural Health Association, Terre Haute

Voters will have two last chances Nov. 3

In November’s election we will be deciding two crucial issues, one for our world and the other for our country. It may well be our last chance for both! Will we vote to kill our planet or try to rescue it? And will we vote to save our democracy — or vote to become a fascist state of hate and fear?

Environmentalists say we have only a decade to make our dear Earth a habitable place where our children and grandchildren can actually live and breathe. Anyone who has been paying attention in recent years has seen the severe floods, rising temperatures, horrendous storms, droughts, out-of-control forest fires and rapid sea level rise. Global warming plays a pivotal part in all these tragedies and dangerous developments.

President Trump has put the destruction of our precious planet on steroids. Our present trajectory will make the Earth virtually uninhabitable for human life by 2030 (and that includes all babies.)

President Trump was recently asked what his agenda is for the next four years. He couldn’t come up with a single thing. Might it be more hate and fear of other people, more destruction of humanity’s home?

By now it should be evident that President Trump is not interested in serving the people. He wants to dominate, period — and, when he thinks no one is looking, enrich himself at the expense of U.S. taxpayers.

It isn’t exaggerating to say that the future of the American experiment — indeed, U.S. democracy — is at stake on Nov. 3.

Joann Yoder Smith, Goshen

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