I thank you so very much for taking on the very important task of writing this informative article [Outtakes, March 5: "Suicidal Tendencies"]. I am Camille Cuoco, Sarina Cuoco's grandmother. People reading this article will see themselves, their family members and their friends, all who are on these evil drugs, and hopefully reach out to them, educate them before it's too late. In writing this article I'm sure you will change people's minds regarding these drugs and ultimately save a lot of lives. You have done the public a service.
My name is Denise Burne Fein and I am president/founder of Break the Silence (break-the-silence.org). We are a nonprofit organization whose mission is inpatient safety for those in crisis or at risk for self-harm and suicide.
Tragically, I, too, am a "suicide survivor."
Ironically that's what they call those of us left behind when a loved one dies by their own hand. I lost my beautiful, and only, precious brother, Matt, to suicide on Nov. 28, 2004. Like Sarina, my brother also was on six different pharmaceutical drugs when he died. Unlike Sarina, he perished as an inpatient at a renowned, $1,000/day, fully licensed and accredited hospital.
I am in touch with Camille Milke and understand and commiserate with her pain and mission. I, too, believe wholeheartedly that we have quickly become a society that over-diagnoses, over-medicates and is now practicing irresponsible prescription drug distribution. I do, however, disagree that these drugs need to be completely banned or abolished. For every person who has a negative or adverse reaction to these drugs, there are thousands who do benefit. There are many, many people whose lives are changed and enhanced from these drugs. I believe we need to change the way these drugs are distributed and by whom. Not every family practitioner, ob-gyn or internist should be handing these drugs out like candy when a patient complains of stress or anxiety.
Also, there needs to be regulation on combining certain drugs and creating "drug cocktails." The human mind will never be understood and the effects of one drug upon it can vary.
I applaud Camille for her zest in wanting to abolish these drugs, however, I genuinely believe that we will make more progress in this area if we move to regulate their distribution and how they are prescribed and combined. With responsible prescribing and close monitoring I believe we can and will save those lives needlessly lost to the adverse reactions of suicide and homicide.
BREAK THE SILENCE
For the outstanding survey of our current electoral process [Cover story, March 5: "Ballot Booth Woes"], the Reporter and its writer Laura Paskus deserve a congratulatory accolade from New Mexico voters. This in-depth article reported on an unusually wide range of important developments and placed our state's voting situation in a national context. All this was done in an even-handed manner that was fair to differing views. Especially noteworthy was Paskus' exclusive press account of the study now underway by Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse-Oliver and her deputy, Robert Adams, to ascertain how best to carry out the random audit of election returns now mandated by state law. That audit is paramount to checking the accuracy of the optical-scan machines that count the votes from our paper ballots and it needs to be fully implemented for the upcoming and critical presidential election. It's too bad that, in the session that just ended, the Legislature and the governor missed their opportunity to strengthen our current audit law by increasing its statistical probability for detecting any flawed vote-counting machines that could change an election outcome. SB 318, which would have done that, was inexplicably deemed not germane and therefore not brought up for deliberation.
Good story on the voting issue, but one little factual problem…The description of our voting process "falling short" in paragraph seven talks about the winner in the 2006 Wilson/Madrid race being announced "two weeks" after the election, the 2004 statewide results certified "two weeks" after the election, and in 2000 we didn't certify the winner until (gasp) "three weeks" after Election Day. OK, here's the deal. Section 1-13-15 reads, "The state canvassing board shall meet in the state capitol on the third Tuesday after each election and proceed to canvass and declare the results of the election…"
That third Tuesday makes it three weeks. The law requires us to take three weeks to count and certify the vote. It's not a flaw and it doesn't mean everyone here is a big doo-doo head. It makes us sure that everything is counted and correct and it's the law. Other than that, which makes us look bad about reporting results when we're just following the law, it was a great piece of reporting. Thanks for doing these kinds of articles.
SANTA FE COUNTY CHIEF DEPUTY CLERK FOR ELECTIONS
SPREAD THE WORD
Enroll, enroll, enroll!
Although the Health Care For All Campaign believes in the long run that we need to reform the health-care delivery system in order to provide accountable, affordable, equitable, quality health-care access to all people in New Mexico, we know that there are services being offered now that are not being utilized [Outtakes, March 5: "Stealth Health"]. Until New Mexico really deals with the rising cost of health care to businesses and individuals and confronts ways to deal with it, programs like State Coverage Insurance (SCI) are of vital importance. In fact, it should be noted that any type of reform model that New Mexico finally can agree to will involve federal and state programs and funding. Maximizing Medicaid and other programs is a prerequisite to health-care reform.
Businesses in our community that cannot afford health insurance for their employees should refer their employees to Santa Fe Project Access or the Human Services Department local office.
Your article on SCI enrollment brings to the public's attention, the availability of an existing program in New Mexico that is not being adequately promoted. The state of New Mexico needs to encourage, fund and allow more program like Santa Fe Project Access to enroll people in the SCI Program. This program is for the working people in New Mexico.
Robin Hunn has figured out a way to make it as easy as possible to enroll people in the program and should be commended for this effort.
HEALTH CARE FOR ALL CAMPAIGN
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