Readers Write: Dec. 24

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12:00 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017 Opinion

End opioid epidemic by working together

Carrie Teegardin’s recent story in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (“Doctors and the opioid crisis: An AJC National Investigation,” News, Dec. 3) is a forceful reminder that there is a clear difference between drug dealing and medical care.

The American Medical Association unequivocally supports efforts to stop drug dealing regardless of where it occurs and has no tolerance for physicians illegally providing patients controlled substances.

At the AMA, we urge physicians to be leaders to help eliminate opioid misuse and diversion while increasing access to evidence-based care.

More than 118,000 physicians took education on responsible opioid prescribing, pain management and related areas in 2015 and 2016. And nearly 13,000 physicians became certified just in the past year to provide treatment for substance use disorders.

However, insurers must match physicians’ efforts. Health insurance plans must end policies that arbitrarily deny or restrict non-opioid, multidisciplinary therapies such as physical therapy, cognitive and behavioral care, and non-opioid pain medicines.

We must do more to ensure patients’ access to high quality care for substance use disorders, which means payers must reform their coverage policies to remove barriers and provide a full range of treatment options.

To end this epidemic, increased access to treatment must be our primary focus.

PATRICE A. HARRIS, M.D., CHAIR OF THE AMA’S OPIOID TASK FORCE

City leadership to blame for airport fiasco

The culpability for the airport-power fiasco won’t be “known” for months? Who would’ve thunk? No doubt tons of city lawyers will finalize the “truth” for the public. Airport workers did their best in a terrible situation, brought on by incompetent/corrupt city leadership.

For airliners, the air traffic control operations at the airport are very good. But for airport patrons — it’s always been mediocre at best.

“G.O.B.” handshakes and politically correct decisions will continue to cause problems for Atlanta and other big cities until the public demands better quality, regardless of hot air from social “leaders.”

E. MARTIN, PEACHTREE CITY

Why did systems fail at Hartsfield-Jackson?

Finally the curtain is about to fall on the Reed administration and from the looks of things, not a minute too soon. It has been a bad play from the start.

The power outage that turned into a fiasco at the Atlanta airport has more to do about the city’s lack of leadership than a fire on the utilities side of things. Travelers left in the dark (both literally and figuratively) for hours on end. Smoke pouring into some concourses. Airport employees as panicked and dumbstruck (if they could speak up, they didn’t) as anybody on-site. Are emergency plans not reviewed and practiced? Who’s in charge at Hartsfield Jackson? The mayor’s brother-in-law?

Where were the standby systems? The design of such a facility has many provisions for standby power that will keep minimum safe lighting and life safety systems operational hours or even days without a utility company (Georgia Power in this case) system supply. Did these systems fail also? All of them? If so, why, and who is charged with the operation and maintenance of said systems? The mayor’s uncle?

BRIAN CARROLL, SMYRNA

Vote for tax reform bill morally bankrupt

When I wrote to Sen. David Perdue to express my opposition to the new tax “reform” bill, he responded by stating that he considered “tackling our national debt crisis” was a priority for him. This, of course, makes me wonder how he can support the new tax bill, considering that it is projected to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit. Apparently Perdue’s plan to “tackle” the debt is to put even more burdens on the poor and middle-class, while giving his cronies huge tax breaks. Within months, he undoubtedly will be pointing to the deficit as a reason for cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. This is the height of hypocrisy and is a morally bankrupt position.

HELEN DILLON FREED, DECATUR

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