Opioid crisis remedy
Overdose deaths in Tampa Bay’s Black community are skyrocketing | Oct. 7
Times reporter Margo Snipe’s article about the shocking increase in overdose deaths across Tampa Bay’s Black community was a devastating but necessary piece. And Florida isn’t alone in this struggle. According to data recently released by the National Institute of Health, Black Americans across four states experienced a 38 percent increase in opioid overdose deaths between 2018 and 2019, while the rates for other race and ethnicity groups remained steady or decreased. Because opioids are the standard of care for postoperative pain, 3.75 million patients nationwide go on to long-term opioid use after a low-risk surgery annually. And, as Snipe mentions, pandemic-related stress and barriers to mental health services have caused the epidemic to worsen, especially in Black communities.
However, there are alternatives. Non-opioid treatments offer safe, effective pain management and have demonstrably better clinical outcomes. Fortunately, this issue has gotten the attention of Congress. The Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation (“NOPAIN”) Act, introduced in the U.S. House and Senate, aims to increase access to the wide array of FDA-approved, safe and effective non-opioid pain management tools. In doing so, the legislation will provide patients, providers and families choices in how they manage postsurgical pain. I hope the entire Florida congressional delegation works to advance the NOPAIN Act. The health of the people of Florida and the entire nation depends on it.
Ramona Miller, Fort Myers
Who is wasting money?
Flush with COVID aid, schools are steering their funds to sports | Letters, Oct. 10
A writer correctly noted that tens of billions of dollars delivered by President Joe Biden and Democrats to benefit students and schools — to recover from consequences of the pandemic — have instead been squandered by rerouting them for the benefit of a tiny number of privileged students and student athletes, and fans of sports teams. Consider the many millions held back from Pasco County schools by state officials as an example. Or the millions for school kid nutrition held back by the same people. State Republicans held that money back, and wasted it. But stopping Trump’s useless wall gets Biden branded a “waster”? That wall was nothing but an ugly racist ego trip for Trump, and a funding fraud machine for him and his henchmen, including Steve Bannon who got a presidential pardon for his role in that wall funding fraud.
Steve Douglas, St. Petersburg
It’s called capitalism
Vacate notices leave St. Pete residents asking: ‘Where are we supposed to go?’ | Oct. 7
I understand the situation for the current residents of the Stanton apartments. Nothing outrageous is occurring. I would like to live on Beach Drive but that is not going to happen. You live where you can afford to live. The owners of the apartments have found a way to benefit themselves. They are not responsible for creating housing for others. There is nothing sinister about that.
Barry Koestler, St. Petersburg