Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss opioid abuse, Greitens’ special session and Douglas Girod

Opioid tragedy

Five weeks ago, my sister, at one time a highly trained trauma nurse, entered a drug-rehabilitation clinic in the hope of ending her reliance on opioids. She used these pills for more than 15 years, and lost her nursing license as a result.

After a month in the center, she showed marked improvement and was released, although this was probably not a long enough stay. But it was great to have our “old sister” back to near normalcy.

Last Saturday, her fiancé came home and found her on the sofa, apparently asleep. He soon realized she wasn’t breathing. He managed to restore her pulse and get her to the hospital. Blood tests revealed opioid use plus cocaine.

As of Monday, the scan showed no brain activity and her daughter decided to end life support.

Meanwhile, Missouri’s legislators refuse to implement an opioid tracking system, and we remain the only state not to have one. These “leaders” continue to hide behind phony excuses such as, “The government might be tracking people,” or “The government is too big.”

Forget the political nonsense. There are people out there dying who need your help. Do something.

Terry Rodenberg

Lee’s Summit

Costly session

At a heavy cost to Missouri taxpayers, Gov. Eric Greitens is calling another special session. (June 8, 3A, “Greitens calls legislators back to focus on abortion”) This one is to work on abortion policies, including looking at a St. Louis ordinance that bans discrimination based on abortion and pregnancies.

This ordinance bans employers from firing, refusing to hire or disciplining women because they’ve had an abortion, use contraception or become pregnant while not married. It also bans discrimination in housing.

Greitens’ special session also is in response to a federal judge’s decision in April that invalidated requirements that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges nearby and that abortion facilities meet hospital-like standards, which are completely unnecessary because most patients are given a pill and sent home. What the legislation really did was try to block access to the clinics.

The cost of this attack on women — or the special session — can be as much as $28,000 a week in the Senate and $50,000 to $100,000 in the House, depending on how many lawmakers attend.

I wonder how many taxpayers are OK with spending this money on something the legislators couldn’t get done during their annual session. It seems Greitens is pushing his special agenda at our cost.

Kristy Mizener

Lee’s Summit

Vote of confidence

Congratulations are in order for Douglas Girod, M.D., becoming the 18th chancellor of the University of Kansas. (May 26, 4A, “KU Medical Center head tapped as new chancellor”)

We were all crestfallen to hear about Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little leaving. However, I knew after hearing that bad news that we would be fine. I knew there wasn’t anyone better for the job than Dr. Girod.

KU is in fantastic hands. He treats everyone from the janitor to the CEO the same — with courtesy and respect, and every bit is genuine.

I met him 10 years ago when he settled next to me at a event. We had a conversation like he was an old chum.

When the executive vice chancellor position opened at the KU Medical Center, I told that committee he was the only one. I told the KU chancellor search committee the same thing.

Today Chancellor Girod. Tomorrow governor or even president. He’s got my vote already.

David Fresia

Lee’s Summit

Airport woes

Memorial Day evening, we were driving back from the Wichita area visiting family graves and placing flowers. When the local stations faded, we turned on the satellite radio and came upon an interview with a former TSA counter-terrorism expert.

He said: “Airports are not a place anyone would want to hang around in. You want to get into the secure areas as quickly as possible for your departure, and be able to get off your flight, pick up your luggage and get the hell out of there. We are lucky no one has exploited the vulnerability of our airports yet, but it is just a mater of time. Extremely large concourses are particularly vulnerable to a potential terrorist attack.”

I was reminded of this when my wife and I were returning from visiting family in California last year, and flying out of Los Angeles International Airport.

We arrived three hours before our flight. The restaurants were packed, so we decided to join the conga line to go through security and get a bite inside. It took 2 hours, 15 minutes to clear security, and by the time we walked the near half-mile to our gate, it was “last boarding call.”

Ricci Ballesteros

Kansas City