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Drug policy needs broader perspective

Overcrowded prisons and jails provide ample evidence that the "waron drugs" isn’t working.

Our Legislature and courts face challengingdiscernment related to marijuana.Clearly, we need to broaden ourperspective.

Perhaps we could start by recognizing substance abuse and addictionas poor decision-making and a health concern, rather than criminal offenses. Then we could admit that prohibition by law has little impact onpersonal choices.It didn’t work with alcohol and it won’t work withother drugs.

Instead, we need to provide better information and guidance from ourfamilies, schools and religions.

In addition, we should differentiate between our concern for drug useand the problems of abuse and selling.Use is a matter of educationand good decisions. Abuse calls for treatment by health professionals. Selling needs to be controlled and, in some cases,made illegal. Again, a careful discernment between drugs — marijuana and ice, for example — must be made.

John Heidel

Don’t make victims of rape hunt for help

This paper’s "prudent" compromise on House Bill 411, allowing hospitals to transport rape victims instead of providing emergency contraception (EC), is misguided ("Enact bill to help victims of rape," Star-Advertiser, Our View, March 25).

For women in rural areas and on neighbor islands, that means traveling far from home, potentially off-island, for care. One can only imagine the difficulty faced by a person, brutally assaulted, sent away from home in search of care.

Being denied care and having to re-tell details of the rape is damaging. Survivors who experience negative reactions when disclosing their assault are more likely to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and less likely to make subsequent disclosures, including to police. Survivors who must make multiple disclosures suffer worse PTSD symptoms.

Catholic Health Care Directive 36 allows for EC in cases of rape. More than 200 U.S. Catholic hospitals provide EC to victims; 78 percent of U.S. Catholics want their hospitals to provide EC to rape victims.

The Hawaii Women’s Coalition believes that hospitals that serve the public, relying on public funds, don’t have the right to deny women care. They don’t have the right to perpetuate trauma after rape.

Katie Polidoro
Director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Hawaii and member of the Hawaii Women’s Coalition

Dogs in beach parks are a dirty nuisance

This is in response to a reader’s letter ("Dog restriction at park is unfair," Star-Advertiser, Letters, March 22).

Dogs in places like Ala Moana Beach Park are a nuisance for three reasons. First, what they leave behind attracts flies. Second, small kids play on the grass and put their hands in their mouths. Third, dog waste can contain viruses and bacteria that when reaching the ocean can be highly detrimental to the health of marine life, such as the almost extinct Hawaiian monk seals.

And one more thing: How can the reader overlook about two dozen blue signs that are posted all over Ala Moana Beach Park? Last time I checked, dogs were still considered animals.

The Honolulu Police Department should continue to ticket our inconsiderate fellow citizens who illegally bring their dogs and cats into the beach parks.

S. Margret Laue

Tour operators endangering beach

We come to Oahu two or three times yearly. Paradise Beach at Ko Olina has always been a very special, beautiful and unspoiled spot we visit. Recently, however, the beach and water were packed with hundreds of Japanese tourists who had been disgorged by several very large buses.

It is a very small beach that cannot handle the negative impact of masses of people. Paradise Beach has been a pristine home to large turtles and colorful tropical fish. These precious creatures will not survive for long if environmentally insensitive tour operators continue to unload hundreds of people, coated with slimy sun screen, scattering debris and tramping on coral.

Please protect this very special beach and its inhabitants.

Evelyn Lockton
Hillsborough, Calif.

Karzai forgetting who’s paying piper

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is attempting to order and limit U.S. troops and support in Afghanistan.

The United States is providing money and personnel to this country. If we provide people and money, we control their operation. If it is not agreeable, we should get out and stop the funding.

He who writes the checks, calls the shots.

Bob Dukat
Pahoa, Hawaii island

Senator’s empathy not inclusive enough

Sen. Rob Portman has a long history of opposing gay marriage and he was one of the most vociferous critics on this issue.However, reversing his long-held ideological view after his son’s revelation that he is gay is politically courageous.

In an op-ed, Portman explained his change of heart by saying he did not want his son treated any differently because of his sexuality.

Portman’s display of empathy and support of his son’s rights was inspirational and admirable, but as a high-serving member of a representative democracy, he should not have to be personally inspired to see an issue from a perspective other than his own.

I hope Portman would also find the courage to extend the same feeling of empathy toward the poor working families, children and elders by opposing his party’s relentless attempts to eviscerate social programs that help these groups of people.

Rod B.Catiggay

How to write us

The Star-Advertiser welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~150 words). The Star-Advertiser reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.


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Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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