Editor’s note: We were pretty jazzed to publish a commentary on the opioid crisis by William Bennett and Robert DuPont. We’ve been meaning to run some of your reactions, so let’s begin with them, followed by more on the farmers banned from a farmers market . Be sure to write us at firstname.lastname@example.org—Ken McIntyre
Dear Daily Signal: The current panic over opioid drug abuse is just the latest hyped-up cause for the media (“Getting the Opioid Epidemic Right”). The only result is that people who legitimately need opioids for chronic, intractable pain have an increasingly difficult time getting doctors to prescribe those desperately needed medications.
Doctors are told that their licenses may be in jeopardy if they prescribe opiates, so they are reluctant to do so. “Pain doctors” are being designated and onerous requirements are in place for those in need of pain relief. Contracts need to be signed and days are being counted to make certain that no one gets so much as a single “extra” dose in any given month.
Patients are treated like criminals and junkies when all they want is to be able to function in a normal manner (at least so far as possible with chronic pain). Inflated numbers and explosive stories about the opioid “epidemic” give the media something other than politics to blare about, but the truth is the only thing being accomplished here is increased difficulties for pain patients.
Street users are a different breed from those who suffer daily from pain that will never go away, but the daily sufferers wind up being lumped into the numbers when it is convenient for a good story. It is time to take a more reasonable look at pain and use of opioid drugs, as opposed to use by those whose only purpose is to escape into whatever euphoria they hope to find in whatever drug suits their needs.—Mary Ann Ludwig
Regarding the commentary by William Bennett and Robert DuPont: I have four children whom I largely home-schooled. I was always about giving them full information on life issues. Out of four, with all but one grown and that one nearly there, only one has had any issues with addictive substances whatsoever.
Point is, education is essential but there is interaction with personality. There is no one size fits all.
I remember in school, several decades ago, we were taught pot was the gateway drug. It was as if you smoked a joint, the next day you would be shooting up heroin. I don’t think it is helpful to exaggerate, yet kids do need to understand the real risks.
I never smoked anything and drank very little, as I was aware that I may have an addictive-type personality. Adding that awareness, maybe with testing of some kind, to the education would be helpful. Some people are more likely to get in trouble with addictive substances.—Karen Lee Mack
The blossoming issue of substance abuse is not a political issue, but one of ever-increasing national importance that crosses political or party lines. While a national policy should be adopted, it is up to the individual states and municipalities to formulate policies to address this in their respective governing areas.
To accomplish something will take a national effort with a common goal. What are the elements needed to have an effective policy on substance abuse?
1. Interdiction of drugs flowing into this country, particularly cocaine and opium, but this should not be primary focus.
2. Step up research into the medicinal uses of cannabis sativa for a variety of medical conditions as identified in “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base,” released Jan. 15, 1999, and do an update on this report.
3. Develop an effective educational program that outlines the consequences of drug use. This should consist of several presentations aimed at all different social groups.
4. Develop drug intervention programs aimed at preventing today’s youth from engaging in behavior that will endanger themselves or others.
5. Most of all, develop several different models of effective drug treatment to assist in the treatment of substance abuse, as no one model will fit all.—Robert Shoening
— Katrina Trinko (@KatrinaTrinko) June 29, 2017
Add to this, the breakdown of the family. Children and adults are not feeling connected. To me, this is a real part of the puzzle.
The feds did us no favor by putting “sober” people into the Fair Housing Act (thank you, George H.W. Bush) and the Disability Act. Now, so-called sober houses have infiltrated our family neighborhoods, putting addicts, often uncontrolled, in our midst in unregulated group homes. Local communities have their hands tied to prevent it.
In my area, people literally have died with needles in their arms in their neighbor’s front yard—neighbors who have little kids witnessing this. These people are not from the area but lured by false hopes of being cured. Or at least their parents have been.
Cure rate? A joke. Any other “disease” would be ridiculed if the cures had an 80 percent-plus failure rate. Wake up, America. We need to get the feds off our backs. This is just one of the ways we can do it.—Bonnie Donn Jones
Having been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous for 37 years, much of the addition can be attributed to marijuana as the gateway to opioid use. As more laws allow their use, opioids will become a bigger problem.—Kenneth Eaton
Let’s see, we drove a legal industry, Big Tobacco, almost completely out of business by winning lawsuits in every state in the union. The upside: no smokers fouling the air we breathe, no street curbs littered with cigarette butts. The downside: a massive loss of tax money to the government, federal, state and local, for “health care.”
Is Big Pharma so powerful that they can’t be challenged as well? I realize the stuff crossing the border from Mexico—cocaine, fentanyl, and marijuana—is homemade, homegrown, and deadly, but that problem can be solved with the determined application of firepower. Big Pharma executives, like Big Tobacco executives, understand loss of profits. Let the lawsuits begin.—George McClellan
The problem is not a state or local issue. It is a lack of personal responsibility. And we as a compassionate people give those who choose to become addicted a pass.
It is time for some tough love. Would a sane person point a loaded gun at his head and pull the trigger? Well, these people are killing themselves by choice. It is time to quit dancing around this issue.—Robert Smith
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) July 3, 2017
More on Farmers Banned From a Farmers Market
Dear Daily Signal: It’s ironic that the city council of East Lansing, Michigan, referred to its belief in civil rights when it is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that protects the right of farmers Steve and Bridgett Tennes to practice their religious beliefs (“This Farmer Won’t Hold Same-Sex Weddings at His Orchard. Now a City Has Banned Him From Its Farmers Market”). Title VII grants a religious accommodation to anyone who wants to be exempt from participating in something that is against their religious beliefs.
The only stipulation is that there must be a “reasonable alternative available.” We know that requirement was met in the Tennes’ case, so why are they being denied their right to a religious exemption?
A religious exemption is given to a doctor who does not want to perform an abortion. The doctor is not discriminating against the woman who wants the abortion. He is objecting to the abortion itself.
A religious exemption is given to Muslim truck drivers who do not want to deliver alcohol. They are not discriminating against the people who want the alcohol. They are objecting to the alcohol itself.
The Tenneses do not want to host a same-sex wedding. They are not discriminating against the people who want the wedding. They are objecting to the wedding itself. They are not objecting to the individuals involved.
How can anyone think it should be legal for a gay couple to say: “We know there are other places who would host our wedding, but we want that Christian couple to be forced to do it?” Just whose civil rights are being denied then?—Anita Goodspeed, Dallas, Texas
Thanks to Kelsey Harkness for her video report on the Tennes family on their farm outside East Lansing, Michigan (“Couple Banned From Farmers Market Over Same-Sex Marriage Views Speaks Out”).
So, sexual orientation and gender identification are protected classes. I was told when I was pregnant and in jeopardy of losing my job that pregnancy was not a protected class. Is that still the case?
Thanks for The Daily Signal’s honest reporting protection of the vulnerable majority.—Kathleen Goryl
Persecution of Christians is definitely on the rise, and freedom of religion is definitely on the decline. This persecution is completely taking the Tennes family’s livelihood and property away from them in an attempt to make them and their children homeless.
People have died for their faith. In many countries today, they still do. That’s where this persecution is trying to go, here in the land of liberty.—Jeffrey Moore
We are supposedly allowed freedom of speech, so why are we not allowed to speak freely about how we feel about same-sex marriage ?
I oppose same-sex marriage and I have no qualms about saying so in public when asked my opinion. Allowing people to be bullied and banned from selling their products in a farmers market is discriminating against those who think differently and should not be allowed.—Elna Bjelland-Hughes
Wow, I was shocked when I first read about Steve Tennes being banned from a farmers market, and didn’t know how a city could do what they did to the farmer. Thank you for the full story.—Whitman Ball, Exton, Pa.
This isn't another "bakers didn't want to make cake for a same-sex wedding case." It's more extreme. Watch: https://t.co/ZTcjHA7efI
— Kelsey Harkness (@kelseyjharkness) June 30, 2017
I was pulled into this culture war when Colorado passed Amendment 2 and faceless, nameless people called my house at all hours day and night for months, making threats against my wife and our children. The local police said I brought it all upon myself by being a vocal supporter of Amendment 2 and a vocal opponent of the celebrity fraud called Boycott Colorado.
I will not be silent when my brothers and sisters are attacked without just cause simply for being Christians.—Robert Burkholder
With the immoral laws our states and nation are passing, more of this will happen. These laws are unconstitutional because of the First Amendment. It will get worse.
The only way to slow it is to get involved with your vote or run for office. I’m prayerfully hoping that President Trump can give us at least two more Supreme Court justices. We must try to elect God-fearing officials at the state and local level. I wish more Americans would get involved and not just be the silent majority.—M.J. Burgess
This country is based on the right to be free and make most decisions when it comes to you and your family and the well-being of your family. Then comes truth and respect and honor to your God; then the pursuit of happiness.
Is this where the government will take over the rest? I’m confused: Is this a game that should be played out like a movie? I think it will be a disaster and a waste of money and time if the Democrats write the script and Nancy Pelosi is the director.—J.M. West
The left will destroy you if you don’t agree with them. And their behavior will only get worse. Not allowing them to sell at the farmers market is in retaliation for their religious views. I hope they prevail in their lawsuit.—Barbara Reitz
Thank you to Kelsey Harkness for posting a video report that supports Christian America while political correctness has run amok in the media. Thank God President Donald Trump won the election.
I will not support media such as CNN, ABC, NBC, or any others that support political correctness, that trash our president and support Islamic countries that persecute Christians and women. Thank you, Daily Signal.—Henry Fuss
After reading about the Tennes family’s legal problems with East Lansing, I spoke with one of their lawyers. I have communicated with three different Christian legal firms on this same topic.
Normally when a legal bout takes place, the plaintiffs file actions against the municipalities and agencies involved. In each conversation with the three parties, I have asked that they take a different direction.
In addition to focusing a lawsuit against cities, departments, and other nonhuman defendants, others should be included. Each mayor, council member, police officer who may be drawn into the conflict, every other individual who influences the decision to discriminate against U.S. citizens, should be named as partners in the discriminatory action.—Kenneth P. Swanson
Thank you for Kelsey Harkness’s video report about the Tennes family being banned from selling their produce in East Lansing, Michigan. I pray the Supreme Court will rule in favor of a case of the Colorado baker with similar problems. Perhaps it will play an important factor in their case. Keep informing us about the stories we will never read about in the press, which is mostly liberal with a biased agenda.—Jo Ann Rinaldo
This is a can of worms that never should have been opened (“Michigan Farmer Fights Back Against City Banning Traditional Marriage Supporters From Farmers Market”). However, now that it’s opened, I stand with the farmers and religion.
It would serve the city of East Lansing right if the farmers all banded together and boycotted the farmers market. But that solves no problems and could hurt everyone. So the only amicable solution I see is for the city to back off on farmers Steve and Bridgett Tennes and make amends.—Stanley Howey
— Kelsey Harkness (@kelseyjharkness) July 14, 2017
This and That
Dear Daily Signal: The governors and mayors who brag of their zealous, 100 percent renewable energy initiatives will deny development within their states and cities, but will rely on energy transmitted long distances to support their infrastructure and communities. Then they will take court action to keep the prices of the outside energy from rising. Watch their hypocrisy; it will make good reporting.—Jonathan James, Franklin, Tenn.
Please answer this question: Why is Social Security called an entitlement? All of us working Americans and employers paid into Social Security every single payday, so I am insulted that it is called an entitlement.
I also pay for Medicare every month. If we pay for a service, how is it an entitlement? As compared to food stamps, Medicaid, and all the other “free” government programs. Keep up the excellent coverage.—Judy Cummins, Chandler, Ariz.
I wanted to thank Sharyl Attkisson for being a serious voice for real investigative journalism. I don’t remember a time when confidence in the media was so low. Keep up the very good work, no matter what opposition you may face out there.—Jonathan Morgan, assistant professor of theology, Indiana Wesleyan University
Can anyone inform me, after all that Hillary Clinton has done, and what Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., has done to expose her, just why is she still on the loose, and even contemplating running in an election?—Roy Kappel, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) July 7, 2017
How Are We Doing?
Dear Daily Signal: I admire and look forward to your daily reports. I have only one quibble, and it is … the word “liberal.” What a wretched misnomer! It once meant a party philosophy opposite to a “conservative” party’s, but no genuine liberal party exists anymore. In fact there is more true liberal politics on the right than anywhere.
Commentator George Will once observed that the party on the left is really made up of “progressives” who believe history has a destination known only to them, and they want to take us there. They have zero right to the name liberal.
In his book “The Road to Serfdom,” Friedrich A. Hayek long ago wrote: “It has been part of the camouflage of leftish movements in this country, helped by the muddle-headedness of many who really believe in liberty, that “liberal” has come to mean the advocacy of almost every kind of government control.”
Call them progressives or lefties, police-staters or what you will, but please don’t dignify them with the honorable term liberal. They are anything but.—Tom Anderson, Eureka, Calif.
Most of your articles seem to be OK. One key area for improvement: data, loads of it, on the No. 1 and overarching problem that is destroying our freedom and our country—the monstrous size and excessive overreach of government. This massive problem is the root cause of most of our country’s subproblems like national debt, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, overregulation, national defense, and homeland security.
By my calculations, about one-fourth of all employment dollars are wasted on direct and indirect government employment, much of which is not simply unproductive but counterproductive. You should be digging into the details and reporting the hard, cruel data that serves as the backdrop for everything that is truly significant.—David Harned
You state that you give only “conservative commentary and policy analysis,” but think of the following you’d have if you gave both sides of the issues—a one-stop shop, so to say. You would definitely have my attention.—Davis Pitt
Great job. I especially like the fact your headlines transform well in tweets and on Facebook, making them easy to share. Thumbs down to long headlines.—Janet Morrison
Your lack of respect for facts and posters who disagree with 200 years of climate research is obvious.—Mark Schaffer
Thank you. Great articles, crucial issues.—Carin A. Briggs
You [expletive] look about as stupid as your stories; you are going to get cleaned in the 2018 elections and supermajority to stop all the dumb-ass sore losers in Congress then will have to go get real jobs.—Robert Fuller
Christine Roe helped compile this column.