Regarding the May 8 news article “Family of student who died at odds with Enloe”: The behavior of Enloe High School leaders was a new low in bureaucratic malfeasance.
Never in our lives had we witnessed such a display of sanctimonious pap. The suggestion by school authorities that a brief memorial tribute to Rachel Rosoff during her class graduation ceremony could result in a reaction requiring counselors was profound nonsense.
This decision by school authorities will do nothing but compound the grief already felt by the family.
Paula and George Warren
Order a step in wrong direction
Regarding the May 7 news article “Trump order makes some preachers ecstatic, others cringe”: My colleague Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, spoke in support of the Johnson Amendment, a law that President Donald Trump’s executive order seeks to undermine. The Johnson Amendment separates houses of worship from partisan politics, and in so doing protects the separation of church and state and shelters religious communities from the coercion of political pressure to endorse candidates.
The separation of church and state has defended freedom of speech and the right to worship as one chooses since the nation’s founding. The recent executive order is a step in the wrong direction. Faith communities frequently, with clarity and deep commitment, engage in the moral, political and social issues of the time. That engagement is informed by thousands of years of tradition and text, not the partisan whims of the day.
Rabbi Lucy H.F. Dinner
Senior rabbi, Temple Beth Or
Center serves the common good
Regarding the May 5 Point of View article “Legacy of Julius Chambers at stake”: The UNC Center for Civil Rights brings together students and faculty, as well as policy experts and practicing attorneys, to advocate for the poor and racial and ethnic minorities.
It focuses on legal and social issues in the areas of education, housing, community development, economic justice and voting rights. One of the critical functions of the center is to train students by giving them hands-on experience with litigation.
As such, efforts to prevent the center from engaging in litigation represents a challenge to both the principles of academic freedom and shared governance. Those who wish to curtail the activities of the center are more concerned with serving those with privilege than educating students and the public about issues of social and economic justice.
Externally funded centers must be free to sponsor curricular and co-curricular activities and provide services to the public. They should not be limited by having to pass an ideological litmus test. The UNC Board of Governors should cease interfering with the educational mission of the center and allow it to continue its work, which serves the common good.
President, American Association of University Professors
PAC support for candidates
Regarding the May 7 Work & Money article “Memo tells what Lowe’s wants from Congress”: It seemed that most of Lowe’s Cos. CEO Robert Niblock’s concerns stemmed from the federal candidates the company’s political action committee supported.
Gary O. Ostlund
Oberlin Village project questioned
Regarding the May 8 news article “Raleigh’s Oberlin Village seeks protection as development looms”: People are going to buy expensive condos on land that was once home to former African-American slaves? What was the city thinking when it agreed to this project? How about turning this land into a park with a memorial to the original residents of Oberlin Village.
Collaborative practices urged
We read the April 18 editorial article “The myth that prescriptions caused the opioid crisis” with great interest. Illicit opioids, like heroin, are indeed driving the current epidemic but we cannot overlook the role of prescription opioids.
The addictive and lethal potential of all opioids is real. Perhaps most telling as to why prescription opioids are an important factor is that the vast majority of those who abuse heroin report their first exposure to opioids as a legally prescribed drug .
In the 1990s, health care identified undertreatment of pain as a major problem. Patients were suffering in an age of modern medicine when we had treatments that could control their pain and improve their quality of life. Much attention was placed on the adequate treatment of pain. Looking back, it is clear that in solving the problem of under-treated pain, the pendulum has swung to the far extreme. We now face the health care and societal consequences of prescription opioids having been used too freely.
We agree with the article that physicians are not the sole cause for the opioid epidemic. However, opioid prescribing for both acute and chronic pain is indeed a major contributing factor. The article indicates that opioid addiction occurs in a small minority of people, and therefore we should not, at the risk of a few, overlook the legitimate pain needs of patients. This minority also is described as being predisposed to addiction.
We also think there is a probable genetic predisposition for opioid addiction. This would certainly explain why addiction after a single prescription occurs for some and not others. However, the problem is that we cannot identify, at least not yet, who has this predisposition and who does not. Therefore, careful prescribing and pain-management monitoring is prudent to help circumvent the current crisis.
We think efforts to draw greater attention as well as solutions to address the opioid epidemic should not bring harm to patients with cancer, the terminally ill or those with chronic, debilitating conditions in need of pain control. However, in North Carolina, legislators, legal and health care organizations have been working closely together on the Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention Act, also known as STOP, with the intent of designing prescribing limitations.
Best practices for pain management would have physicians working in collaboration with pharmacists. A team-based approach could improve access to pain-management services and ongoing monitoring of treatment for patients with chronic pain. In addition, physicians working with pharmacists could increase access to medication-assisted treatment programs for addiction. However, few of these collaborative practices exist outside of large teaching health systems. We are doing North Carolina residents a disservice if we do not reshape the health care system to work more collaboratively and to expand care options for patients .
Executive Director, North Carolina Association of Pharmacists
Courtenay Gilmore Wilson
Associate Director of Pharmacotherapy, Mountain Area Health Education Center
Assistant Professor of Clinical Education, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Asheville Campus
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the issue.