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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN

ECMC needs to keep addiction clinic open

Having worked in the field of addictions treatment for many years in Western New York, I was pleased to see the recent attention paid to the problem of prescription opiate abuse in our community. The News series has done a good job of bringing a serious and dangerous situation to the forefront of everyone's attention. Unfortunately, those who have a family member or loved one who is caught up in the snare of this addiction and dangerous lifestyle know all too well the pain and heartache it causes.

In light of this, I was troubled and dismayed to hear of the imminent closing of Southern Erie Clinical Services -- Erie County Medical Center's outpatient addiction clinic in Hamburg. This clinic has been serving the people of the Southtowns for approximately 30 years and is an integral provider of services to alcoholics, addicts and their families in this area. It is troubling to me that I have seen no official announcement in the media informing the public of this loss.

ECMC owes it to the people it serves to be upfront about this situation instead of quietly closing the facility and operating "under the public radar." Part of its mission is to be the public provider of these services. I realize other outpatient providers exist in the Southtowns, but due to the mix of small town and rural communities they serve, they are often inaccessible by public transportation. I realize these are difficult economic times for us all and that tough decisions have to be made in order to keep facilities open and services available to the public. I find it difficult to believe that the relatively small amount of money saved by closing this clinic offsets the cost of ECMC's current expansion plans in any significant way. I, for one, wish it would reconsider this decision. Cutting back may be necessary, but cutting out is unconscionable.

Joan A. Duquette

Kenmore

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It's time for America to bring troops home

The U.S. Congress has spent several weeks working out an acceptable budget agreeable to both parties. They came up with $38 billion in cuts to keep from shutting down the government. Where did the money come from? No problem, take from the poor, the middle class, education and health care programs.

Now, what happens when the government needs an additional $50 billion to fund the ongoing wars in Iraqi, Afghanistan and now Libya? You got it, just "fast-track" it through with little debate.

I say, bring these boys and girls home now. Let these kids stay in the armed services, but here in the United States. I know what sorrow families experience when two soldiers knock on your door bearing that fatal news.

Paul Reger

Grand Island

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Muslims around world should be more tolerant

There is no justification for murder. Many are asking if the Rev. Terry Jones is responsible for the deaths that occurred after he burned a Quran in Florida and mobs rioted in the Middle East. The short answer is no. While Jones' actions may not have been the most wise, or tolerant, Jones killed no one. We live in a free society where citizens are allowed to express themselves -- whether by speech or cartoons or even burning a book. Yet people were killed by a vicious, unthinking mob thousands of miles away.

If I burned a Bible or a Torah and a mob in Kansas went on a rampage and murdered innocent people, no one would say it was my fault. It would be acknowledged that people overreacted, and those responsible would be brought to justice. But because our terrorist enemies cloak themselves in religious zealotry, we make excuses for their fellow believers. We must not offend the Muslims. Even as Christians are discriminated against and murdered for their faith (as are Jews and atheists), we must not offend the Muslims. After all, Islam is a religion of peace. We are told that over and over. It's just that sometimes those "peaceful practitioners" decide to kill for no good reason.

It is time for Muslims the world over to grow up and act like adults, not spoiled children. If you are not a member of a religion, then its rules do not apply to you. Catholics do not riot when Jews eat meat on Fridays. Buddhists did not riot when the Taliban destroyed ancient holy statues in Afghanistan. Hindus do not riot because Christians slaughter millions of cows. And I may draw pictures of the prophet Mohammed, if I wish to, and Muslims need to accept that.

Lawrence Southwick III

Amherst

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Books can transport us to another time, place

After reading the My View on April 14 by Monica Wild, I was extremely impressed by her insight on the subject of books. This very young woman was able to convey in the most intelligent way how books had influenced her life.

It's so true that each book takes you to a different world and characters. You are transported to another time, place and yet another learning experience. This medium can open up a world to you with the turn of a page. Whether we read the old-fashioned way or use the newest technology, we all benefit. For myself, I have to agree with Monica. "The feel of a book in my hands is a comfort."

Mary Alice Harrigan

Orchard Park

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Don't blame conservatives for gay teens' suicide rate

I'm replying to the Associated Press article in the April 18 News titled "Conservatism linked to teens' suicide tries." This is the most despicable move so far in a push to demonize conservatives.

Before publishing a conclusion so incendiary as to suggest that conservatism is causing suicide attempts, researchers better have solid numbers at their disposal. This study is a one-time snapshot of a small population, making the results too flimsy to support the heavy assertion.

Teens have historically been faced with major sociocultural challenges at a vulnerable time of life. Many have endured great difficulties, such as the challenges of poverty, broken families, war, illness and disabilities, in great isolation. There are no headlines for these individuals and few networks of support, yet they go forward, with a significantly lower rate of suicide. The real issue with the sampled teens seems to be excessive fragility and lack of formation and coping skills.

This study's most significant, yet de-emphasized finding, is that even now, surrounded by tolerance networks of sociocultural and educational support, 20 in 100 homosexual teens are attempting suicide, compared to 4 percent of their heterosexual peers. Even removing bullying and depression from the equation, 25 percent of the sampling attempted suicide. These numbers confirm only that there is a disproportionately high number of unstable teens among the homosexual population. The more responsible theme to investigate is whether this is an uncanny coincidence. An objective study would look for deeper psychological factors in individuals, because these numbers prove we cannot blame the village.

Liz Zilbauer

Grand Island

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