Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday’s letters: Let’s unite to solve opioid abuse

Drug execs express opioid regrets | May 9

Let’s unite to solve opioid abuse

Every day, 115 Americans die from an overdose involving either prescription or illicit opioids. Virtually no one has been untouched by the opioid addiction crisis. It has become one of Pinellas County’s most pressing health issues. It will take a village to solve this problem — and community efforts to prevent opioid abuse will be most effective if we all join forces to share information and solutions.

That’s why Sunstar Paramedics recently hosted a roundtable discussion organized by Allied Against Opioid Abuse, a new, national opioid education initiative. The event brought together Pinellas County community leaders to address opioid abuse and misuse, including the business community, health-care advocacy, first responders and medical professionals like pain management practitioners and osteopathic physicians.

As first responders, we save lives every day — but we also need to consider what comes next for the overdose patients we save. This opportunity to learn how other sectors of the community are addressing prescription opioid abuse gave us a broader view of the recovery and prevention resources available to patients once they leave our ambulance.

Studies show that more than 11 million Americans misused prescription opioids in 2016. Of those, approximately 40 percent obtained them from a friend or relative. We can all take steps to combat this problem, like ensuring that prescription medicines are safely stored, and any leftover or expired medicines are properly disposed.

Check your medicine cabinet. Are there any prescription pain medicines? If you’re no longer dealing with the issue for which these pills were originally prescribed, dispose of them as soon as possible so they don’t fall into the wrong hands. And, please, never give them to friends or family.

For more information on how to safely store and properly dispose of opioid medications, including local drop-off locations for unused medicines, visit

As Pinellas County’s emergency medical transport provider, we believe that everyone in Tampa Bay can be part of the solution — because only by coming together can we address this crisis once and for all.

John J. Peterson

The writer is the Chief Operating Officer for Sunstar Paramedics.

A huge step backward | May 9, editorial

Give us all the arguments

Although the Iran nuclear agreement topic is certainly complicated and worthy of legitimate debate, the Times should have included the specific flaws and specific rationale for the withdrawal. Isn’t it curious that those in the region who are most affected by this withdrawal decision have hailed it as courageous and completely appropriate? When Saudi Arabia (and other Arab states) and Israel agree on something, the world (and Times) should take notice and at least consider the other side of the arguments.

Noel Flynn, Wesley Chapel

We broke the deal

The president of the United States has railed against the Iran nuclear deal for a long time. His objections are that the deal is/was "really bad," "very horrible," "ridiculous" and the rest of the vague generalities. Since nobody, including the United States, has found Iran not in compliance, the deal has been violated only by the United States. So should the other countries now impose sanctions on the United States? Should the other signatories freeze the accounts of the American oligarchs? Boycott American goods? Impose sanctions on other countries or individuals who do business with us?

Thomas Maciocha, Tampa

Of beliefs, principles,
conscience | May 8, column

McCain’s funeral wish

Noting that Sen. John McCain doesn’t want President Donald Trump to attend his funeral, I adamantly agree. McCain is a true hero. I was 18 when I was drafted during the Vietnam War, and I decided to enlist in the Air Force. It’s insulting being lectured to by a privileged son of wealth who managed to evade service. Today a bellicose president threatens other countries with the arms of this great nation without a clue of what sacrifice and loyalty means. The founders of this country who sacrificed life and treasure would be ashamed.

Tony Carrion, Riverview

Focus on improving regional
BRT plan | May 2, editorial

Give me mass transit

I just don’t get it.

Why would the Tampa Bay area not want to be one of the most transportation-friendly, environmentally progressive and community-minded cities in the country? Is it because mass transit is used only by "those people"?

Look to some of the greatest cities in the world: Paris, London, New York, Chicago, San Francisco. All have subways, light rail and interconnected bus systems.

How would the rapid bus work for me to get to a Lightning game? Bucs? Any other Tampa event?

A one-way Uber is $25 plus the surge rate. Nothing happening in Tampa is worth $50 before I even pay for the event.

So, to those who don’t want "those people" to have access to safe, swift, reliable transportation in the area: I’m a 69-year-old female veteran, Air Force 1971-75 (Vietnam).

Am I one of "those people"?

Why don’t I drive? Vision loss. I thought it smarter to stop driving than run into anything or anyone.

Think about the future of the area. Light rail won’t get cheaper. And neither will gasoline.

Iggy Thompson, St. Petersburg

Men freed by N. Korea back
on U.S. soil | May 10

Just give him the prize

President Donald Trump thinks he is deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize. I say if it makes him go away, just give it to him.

Paul Chan, St. Petersburg


Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18