More serious penalties

won't cure addiction

Regarding the May 6 story, "South Jersey losing war against heroin":

In the battle against heroin and opiate addiction, some people have said that the answer is to increase the penalties for possession of the drug. I don't think that is the answer; making treatment available for the people suffering from addiction is.

I say suffering because that's what they are going through. Being an addict is not only torture, it is very often a death sentence because of the lack of available, affordable treatment.

Cracking down on the people selling heroin is just a Band-Aid. The addiction will drive addicts to find the drugs wherever they are.

The fear of withdrawal is what drives most addicts to do things that they would never normally do. The disease of addiction - and it is a disease - is insidious. It joins with the survival centers of the brain and makes the addict feel that his or her life depends on getting the drugs. For most people, fear of the repercussions of breaking the law is enough to keep them from doing so. But the addict feels he or she has no choice.

When they are caught, addicts are arrested and fined (money they probably don't have), and thrown back into their addicted life. Addiction is destroying our families and our friends. If we don't deal with the root of the problem and make treatment available to the people who need it, this problem is never going to get any better.

ANDREW YEARSLEY

Dorothy

Don't blame gun deaths

on the mentally ill

It seems that some pro-gun-ownership people are pinning blame on those with mental illness for all the shootings that happen in our society. I have a mental illness, and I'm no gun fanatic.

People forget about the other causes of gun-related deaths. My hometown has seen so many murders and injuries due to people who have something against someone and choose to use weapons to settle it. Guns also go hand-in-hand with gangs and drugs. Some people don't want to make money the legal way, they want to get rich quick. And those who use drugs and stay addicts rather than asking for help contribute to the problem.

Those same addicts, who go anywhere to get a fix, end up victims of gun violence, too. Some of our elected officials are too spineless to stand up to right-wing National Rifle Association extremists. Those who care about making our towns and cities safe have a duty to vote such cowards out of office.

And people need to realize that the way they choose to live their lives sometimes can affect everyone in the community.

KIM KELLY

Pleasantville

Starting out is tough,

but don't give up hope

Regarding Citizen Columnist Sara Knight's May 4 column, "Saving recipes, biding time in a tough economy":

I really enjoyed this commentary. Unfortunately, the writer's situation is a sign of our times. She might not have the money now, but things will surely improve, so I encourage her not to give up hope.

I loved the food references and the red binder story, and I thought this well-written tale gave us a clear snapshot into a promising young life.

I, personally, have looked at life from both sides now. I am at the end of my career and have lost my job during these difficult economic times. I have cooked my recipes and fed and brought up my children. And looking back, I would not change one thing about my life. The promise of youth has been replaced by the satisfaction of a life well-lived, and we will manage to get by just as we always have.

So please, do not give up your hope.

LOIS ANGELOZZI

Mays Landing

Why is governor

allowed to steal?

Regarding the May 3 story, "COAH tells Christie he can seize town funds":

If I were to steal $140 million from local towns, would I be considered a thief?

If I were Gov. Chris Christie and stole that much, would I still be a thief?

So if I steal I'm a thief, but not if I'm the governor. I think if he steals, he should be arrested.

EUGENE ROSS

Ocean City

Margate beach plan

based on pseudoscience

Regarding the May 1 letter from Margate Commissioner Brenda Taube, "Sandy convinced me - Margate needs dunes":

Poor Commissioner Taube. She can't seem to remember her pledge to hold the line on spending. She wants to squander $900,000 on a beach replenishment and dune-building project. Former Mayor Vaughn Reale warned this was only the tip of the iceberg, and the project could cost Margate up to the full $10 million if federal funds were not available. Who in their right mind would buy into a 50-year contract with such enormous financial exposure?

Taube bases the need for this project on pseudoscience. If only she had done a modicum of research before she pontificated, "We can't question the fact that the sea level is rising." Bona fide scientists aren't so easily swayed. In fact, German meteorologists say the start of 2013 is now the coldest in 208 years. Russian scientist Habibullo Abdussamatov predicts that we are heading for a mini ice age.

Taube's Henny Penny hysterics have to be balanced against the real needs of Margate homeowners. Weather-related damage would be chump change compared to the devastating effects of a humongous wall of sand blocking ocean views and breezes. Besides, dunes often do far more harm than good. In Ventnor, beach block homes were damaged because the dunes blocked the egress of water back into the ocean.

Before Longport joins in this lunacy, officials there might consider doing what Brigantine did years ago with a two-fold benefit. They might opt for an extended jetty or groin to recapture sand and expand their beaches. This would be a one-time fixed cost and would benefit the entire island.

JOHN SEWELL

Margate