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Letter: Putting the ‘I’ In Illness

In “This Illness Isn’t Treated Like An Illness” (The Weekend, April 9-15), Claudia Peters Ragni makes the case that substance abusers’ addictions to alcohol, pills, and heroin “should be treated the same as other diseases” (because) “treating addicts differently from how we treat people with any chronic disease isn’t okay.” While she briefly concedes that “substance addiction is a disease with a behavioral component,” she seems unwilling to admit what an understandable difference that makes in why “it’s not looked at in the same way.”   

I don’t think it’s surprising that people tend to sympathize with “innocent victims” a lot more than with people who cause their own problems by their stubbornly-bad life choices.

Most people suffering from diseases such as muscular dystrophy, leukemia, asthma, sickle cell anemia, ALS, Parkinson’s, arthritis, rheumatism, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and countless other debilitating conditions did nothing to cause it. Whether the “blame” is on bacteria, viruses or defective genes, these victims are suffering through no fault of their own. For them, it was unforseeable and unavoidable.

It’s quite different when people who were not born addicted to any substance choose to disobey their parents, ignore good advice from their teachers and preachers and sometimes even break laws and commit crimes in order to abuse their drug of choice.   

Perhaps Ms. Ragni could make a better case for equal treatment by pointing out that even people with lung cancer clearly caused by their decades-long, packs-a-day cigarette smoking usually receive the same medical treatment and insurance coverage as people whose breast or prostate cancers were not caused by their own bad habits.

Richard Siegelman

News

A Plainview attorney is being disbarred after pleading guilty to stealing thousands of dollars from clients, according to the Nassau County district attorney’s office.

Matthew Kogan, 40, repaid the full amount to victims as a result of prosecution for stealing client funds to pay off personal and professional expenses. Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice recently announced that Kogan will no longer be able to practice law after stealing client funds instead of depositing the funds into his escrow account.  

Thousands of Long Islanders streamed into Burn Park in Massapequa recently for the Town of Oyster Bay’s annual Salute to America concert featuring Dean Karahalis and the Concert Pop Orchestra with fireworks by Grucci.

The event paid tribute to veterans, past and present, and honored three deserving honorees: Guillermo Torres, Plainview’s Robert Reahl and Barbara Tortorice.

Torres is the winner of the Town’s Veteran Lifetime Achievement Award. A Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient, Torres was wounded while on maneuvers.


Calendar

Movie: Last Vegas

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Thursday, July 31

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