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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

Driving rain and cold temperatures could not keep Long Islanders from coming out to support the first annual DogFest Walk ‘n Roll, a fundraiser for Canine Companions for Independence. Held for the first time at Marjorie Post Park in Massapequa, dogs of all breeds and sizes came with their humans with one goal in mind; to raise funds for CCI.

Massapequa resident and event organizer Yvonne Dagger, past president and now board member, discussed the importance of the event.

For as long as she could remember, Christina Amato-Smith has always wanted to open her own hair salon. The Floral Park native worked at a salon down the road from her home, but it wasn’t until 1994 when Amato-Smith made good on her promise to herself.

“I came to Bethpage to open my business because my clients were here,” said Amato-Smith, who now lives in Lindenhurst and has owned Top Cuts for 20 years.

While her business has been met with much success, in 2008, Amato-Smith’s personal life was met with a life altering challenge when she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. It was this event that prompted Top Cuts to organize a cut-a-thon to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. This year’s event occurs on Saturday, Nov. 1.


Calendar

4th Annual Harvest Festival

Saturday, Oct. 25

Health and Wellness Senior Fair

Tuesday, Oct. 28

Haunted Halloween

Wednesday, Oct. 29



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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