Need coordinated effort to break free from drugs

On July 4th, millions of Americans will come together to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, an historic testimonial against oppression that still inspires people around the world.

Today, millions of Americans are confronting another kind of oppression — opioid addiction. As a doctor, I frequently see the effects of this horrible epidemic. It has destroyed families, ruined lives and even led to an historic decrease in lifespan among sectors of the U.S. population.

According to recent reports, in 2016, 11.5 million people misused prescription opioids, while over 42,000 died from an opioid overdose. Roughly 40 percent of those deaths involved a prescription opioid. But the impact isn’t limited to opioid abusers. Another report puts the economic impact of each opioid overdose death at approximately $800,000.

It’s important to understand that people who abuse opioids are not weak or inferior. They simply are people trying to deal with their pain. Eventually this pain becomes difficult to manage until it begins affecting their quality of life.

Weaning patients off opioids is an important step. But managing pain takes an intense, multi-faceted approach. Most need social support, behavioral therapy and/or individual counseling. They cannot do it alone. It takes a united and coordinated front.

On this Fourth of July, let us reignite the spirit of American courage and community. Let us work to create a new dawn of independence from the oppression caused by the abuse of opioids and other drugs.

Young J. Lee, MD

Linwood

A.C. Boardwalk needs fix

I relocated to Absecon lsland in 1973 (pre-gaming) and have run/jogged on the Atlantic City Boardwalk ever since.

I have never seen the Atlantic City Boardwalk in a more deplorable and dangerous condition that it is today. Boards are loose and uneven, and nails/screws are popping up. Not only does this look bad, but these are dangerous conditions that can lead to bikers, joggers and even walkers falling and injuring themselves.

This is a “black eye” for Atlantic City and should be corrected.

Alan C. Staller

Margate

Learning CPR can save lives during the summer

Summer has arrived in New Jersey. As we gear up to spend time at the Jersey Shore or a local pool, the American Heart Association encourages families to be prepared for summer safety by learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day. Two of the 10 are children ages 14 and younger. Knowing CPR can help save lives in cases of drowning.

CPR is also vital when sudden cardiac arrest — a leading cause of death in America — strikes without warning. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 350,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually, and 90 percent of people who suffer cardiac arrests outside a hospital die. The association suggests that CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or even triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

The association recommends people do hands-only CPR when they witness an adult or teen suddenly collapse. Hands-only CPR includes basic steps. First, call 911. Then push hard and fast on the center of the chest until professional help or an automated external defibrillator arrives. By using hands-only CPR, bystanders can still act to improve the odds of survival, even if they are not trained in conventional CPR.

Charisse Fizer

Pomona

Vice president, Clinical Service Lines and Ambulatory Services, AtlantiCare

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