What about the Air Bridge?

As usual, Philadelphia has an optimistic expectation of its deal with Conrail to clean up the heroin needle gulch in Kensington and Fairhill ("At last, a deal," Friday). There was no mention of the Air Bridge, the Puerto Rican network that has exported thousands of drug addicts to Philadelphia (and other cities), which fueled this massive humanitarian tragedy.

What is being done to stop this assault on our city that exacerbated the problem that we have to pay to clean up? I am not optimistic.

Ken Richman, Philadelphia

Millions misuse opioids

The details in in the story, "A denial of misuse" (June 12) were mind-boggling. I was reminded of a famous quote by Albert Einstein: "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it yourself."

As an engineer, I cherish details, but we really need to boil down the opioid crisis:

  • U.S. population: 325 million
  • Americans (age 12 and older) misusing opioid pain relievers: 12.5 million
  • One in 26 Americans are misusing opioid pain drugs.

That is easy to understand.

— |Dan Feeney, West Chester

Painkillers have a purpose

Our news is filled with discussions of the serious opioid problem that has expanded in Philadelphia and the suburbs.
While the newspapers create headlines and the politicians create votes, we must be cautious that an unintended consequence does not result.

Throughout my medical career, one of my important obligations was to provide pain relief to those who were suffering as a result of infections, injuries, tumors and postoperative conditions. While nonnarcotic agents are available, they do not replace the need for morphine, oxycodone, and similar drugs.

When you ask for an answer for opioid addiction, consider that you or your family members might one day suffer intolerable, excruciating pain. You will not be pleased when narcotics become unavailable or so expensive that they cannot be obtained.

Once our politicians make a mistake, it is almost impossible to reverse the error.

Richard G. Smith, M.D., Lansdale, rgrantsmith@lansdale.us

Stance hurts rape survivors

After reading Managing Editor for Opinion Sandra Shea's commentary about columnist Christine Flowers, I can appreciate that Shea is conflicted ("Controversial Cosby column: Christine Flowers' editor speaks," Philly.com, Wednesday). However, she is still giving a platform for a disgusting rape apologist to spread misinformation, lies, and shaming that actively harm rape survivors. This type of rhetoric emboldens those who hate survivors who break their silence. This type of rhetoric gives permission to call all of us liars.

When you enable that type of harm to persist, you don't get any points for being conflicted, but you do get a share of the blame for the harm Flowers does to those of us who have experienced sexual violence.

Please, keep publishing her rape apologist drivel, but don't insult our intelligence any further with the "peace" you've made with it.

Also, maybe find a local rape crisis center and spend a little time helping the people Flowers is harming. You at least owe us that.

James Landrith, Alexandria, Va., james@jameslandrith.com

Give Penn State its due

NASA recently announced its 2017 class of 12 astronaut candidates from a pool of 18,300 applicants. One of those astronauts is Zena Cardman, a graduate student in geosciences at Penn State. She follows an illustrious path blazed by four astronauts from Penn State, including Guion Bluford Jr., the first African American astronaut. Cardman may very well travel to Mars.

The Inquirer did not report this brilliant achievement.. Instead, it continues to focus on the horrific child sex abuse scandal and the disgraceful behavior of frat boys. How about giving the real students of Penn State their fair share of coverage and highlighting some of this positive news?

Ashvin Hosangadi, Jamison

Help end Alzheimer’s

If you have a brain, you can be affected by Alzheimer's, the degenerative brain disease – even as young as 30 years old. As many as 5.5 million people in the United States have it.

Pennsylvania is home to roughly 400,000 people who are living with Alzheimer's or a related disorder. Alzheimer's, the leading cause of dementia, is the nation's sixth-leading cause of death and the only one of the top 10 killers that has no cure and can't be prevented or even slowed.

In 2016, as many as 673,000 Pennsylvanians provided 766 million hours of unpaid dementia care, valued at a staggering $9.6 billion.

We recognize the toll it takes on families. The Alzheimer's Association is commemorating June as Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, with special events throughout the commonwealth. It culminates with the association's Longest Day on June 21, the summer solstice. Teams across the country will wear their purple and participate in activities to honor those for whom every day is the longest day, while raising funds for Alzheimer's research, care and support.

Anyone can join us. Get together with friends, family, or coworkers and sign up at alz.org/TheLongestDay, or call our 24/7 Helpline, 1-800-272-3900 for information.

Gail Roddie-Hamlin, president and CEO, Alzheimer's Association Greater Pennsylvania Chapter, Harrisburg, and Wendy L. Campbell, president and CEO, Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter, Philadelphia