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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

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.

Thanks in large part to a substantial increase in sponsor support – and Mother Nature’s cooperation – the 2014 Plainview-Old Bethpage Craft and Gift Fair was a rousing success.

A caravan of vendors filled the parking lot of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library starting at 7 a.m. By the time fairgoers crossed the blue and green balloon arch at 10 a.m. to receive their free T-shirt and bags stuffed with sponsor goodies, there were 108 booths ready to welcome them on the sunny day.


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’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com