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Forum, June 12: No ‘silver lining’ in deadly overdoses


Wednesday, June 12, 2019
No ‘silver lining’ in deadly overdoses

I support parents who choose to donate the healthy organs of their child who died from overdose or any other cause. And I recognize the serious shortage of healthy organs for people who are very ill. But I feel the need to comment on the recent Concord Monitor article that appeared in the Sunday Valley News (“Deadly overdoses bear ‘silver lining’,” May 26).

As a parent of a child lost to substance use disorder, I found comparisons by Dr. Michael Daily to a hidden “silver lining” and the possibility of “making lemonade out of lemons” from any death, particularly that of a child, stunningly offensive.

The article should have expressed far more sensitivity toward those experiencing lifelong grief from a child’s death from opioids and other tragic causes. Finding or, more likely, growing healthy human organs will someday be possible (and may that day come soon). But for now, let’s please refrain from confounding the desperate need for organs with the desperate need to stem the epidemic of drug addition, which took more than 70,000 lives in 2017. In this and so many other instances, language truly matters.

LINDA MULLEY

Norwich

What really took place in Montpelier this session

A lot of grumbling and criticism has greeted the end of this session of the Vermont Legislature, both because of how it ended and what it accomplished.

Lost in all the noise is the fact that the Legislature is elected in a two-year cycle. Two sessions. What just ended was the first session. Bills that were not disposed of in this session can and will be picked up in the next, in January 2020, just as they were left at the end of this one.

So, the two bills that are causing all the kerfuffle among Democrats and others — paid family leave and raising the minimum wage — are not dead. Those bills did not fail. All the work done on them will be carried over to the next session, where you can be sure they will be considered again.

Some unhappiness with this Legislature may be justified. We should not expect a large group of people of different genders, geography, age, income, personality, ethnic background, race, etc., to agree. These are complicated issues with many facets. They affect many people in different ways, in different parts of our state.

Also contributing to the disappointment is the mistaken belief that the Democrats have a veto-proof majority and can therefore get anything they want. They do not. At best, a veto override would require votes from other parties. And all those diverse Democrats would have to agree.

Nevertheless the House passed 37 bills. Many have already been signed by the governor. They address issues such as broadband, workforce, abortion, childhood sexual abuse, waiting periods for handgun purchasing, banning plastic bags, fair and impartial policing, funding for clean water, and on and on.

With all the attention on paid family leave and raising minimum wage, the substantial accomplishments of this session of the House of Representatives have been overlooked. The result is a distorted picture of what really happened in Montpelier this year.

The delay of those two bills should not define this legislative session.

BILL KUCH

Springfield, Vt.

Learn more about nuclear power

Bob Schultz’s Opinion piece of June 2 (“Green New Deal raises vital questions”) stated, “It’s true that new generation nuclear power reactors are increasingly touted as an important source of safe, non-polluting power,” but he doubts it’s possible soon enough. As a co-founder of ThorCon International, a developer of liquid fission power plants, and the author of Thorium: Energy cheaper than coal, I will lead a discussion on nuclear power, with a presentation and Q&A session on costs and benefits vs. alternative ways to address energy poverty and global warming, at the Hanover Community Center “Lunch & Learn” series at noon on June 26. The event is free. Register at osher.dartmouth.edu.

ROBERT HARGRAVES

Hanover