Columns » Soap Box

Climate change, the opioid crisis and a proper defense




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Under medicated

I am a 58 year old grandmother and have suffered through the so called opiate crisis.

My story goes back to the eighties when I survived being beaten over the head and body by my then husband. I suffered concussions, lacerations to my head and neck sprain. This changed me forever. I was later diagnosed with PTSD because he made death threats and kept coming after me. Until I got a restraining order and divorced him.

In 2004 I was given a choice by doctors to choose between risky neurosurgery, (3 level fusion in neck) or physical therapy and medications including Fentanyl patch for severe pain. I chose the latter.

After ten years I stayed on the same dose, no stronger. Continued with cortisone injections, physical therapy and medications.

However in the past 2 years, doctors have seen fit to taking me off all pain medications. I have had to suffer from withdrawal and recovery. I have had to jump threw hoops to have any hope of relief. In fact the numerous injections I have endured have been without sedation and sheer torture.

I was just told I had to have several surgeries and was given no alternative. In fact, while not on opiates, I was seen by an orthopedic doctor who told me I needed a hip replacement. Then told me to quit depending on opiates and get “it “ fixed. This after almost being off medication despite needed numerous surgeries. Do you know anyone who can go through that kind of surgery without medication? I can’t believe what’s happening!

At present, I am under medicated and mistreated by a healthcare administration that could CARE LESS.
— Elizabeth Devine

A giant experiment

My 70-plus years on this beautiful, blue planet has lead me to the conclusion that our climate is, indeed, changing. Just as our weather varies from day-to-day, our climate varies over much longer time scales—always has, always will. Natural variability due to changes in Earth’s albedo, sun emissions, orbital perturbations, varying volcanism, meteor impacts, etc., all have played and continue to play their parts in climate change.
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Before about 200 years ago, humankind never had either the population size or the industrial capacity to make much of a contribution to climate change. However, since then the present world population (7.5 billion) has increased nearly eight-fold and the amount of manmade greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, etc.) has spiked dramatically. Global climate experts, including those at NASA and NOAA, tell us that the current changes we are seeing in our climate are mainly due to man’s influence. Empirical data and climate model results indicate that the Earth is now warming and that this warming can be explained, to a large degree, by the increase in manmade greenhouse gas emissions.

By our actions (or inactions) we are, in essence, performing a giant experiment upon ourselves and our planet—the only planet that, by the way, we have. If we get this experiment wrong and do irreparable harm to our home, we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

— Lawrence M. Reisinger, Environmental Engineer and Meteorologist

Why I refuse

What a sad day. A civic-minded teacher just called asking advice for his teens who are eager to do trail work, possibly in North Cheyenne Canyon.

I suggested he look for other beneficial things for these teens because I refuse to do sanctioned volunteer work for parks. Why do I refuse? It’s most recently Strawberry Fields and the two associated dubious master plans that put creeping privatization in the driver seat of Parks. My caller was eager to contact an alternative volunteer organization after hearing my rationale.

I look forward to the day when Parks has an ethical administration. Maybe a shrinking volunteer pool will help leverage positive change. Our parks deserve far better than a climate in which volunteers boycott undesirable enterprises. Do you have a solution?

— Bruce Hamilton

Public defender

Recently I had the opportunity to visit our local court system. I think every voter should visit once a year to assess how justice is meted out in the community where they live.

The case I observed was a petition to terminate the parent-child legal relationship pursuant to C. R. S. 19-5-101. What surprised me was that the mother had no legal representation for such a momentous case, severing the legal rights of the biological mother from her child.

Her ex-husband had two attorneys and his new wife who was seeking to adopt the child if the termination was approved by the judge. This was four against one.

As the hearing unfolded, the ex-wife was asked by the judge to question her ex-husband about his testimony. The judge said she could not make a declarative statement, only ask questions of her ex-husband. Soon she became frustrated, threw up her hands, and became silent.

Her next opportunity to speak came during closing arguments. At this point she pleaded for the opportunity to visit her child periodically to maintain their relationship.

As the judge read his verdict to terminate, the mother began to sob. The ex-husband’s lead attorney continued to converse with the judge about the next court appearance to enable the new wife to adopt the child.

When I made inquiries after the trial about why the mother had no legal representation, I was advised that the elected officials of Colorado do not provide a public defender for civil cases. They only provide a lawyer for criminal cases.

Surely, the elected senators and representatives of this state can amend the law to provide a public defender for a criminal case to provide a public defender for a civil case, at least for one of this import. I pray that they will have the compassion and empathy to do so during this legislative session.

— Ed Biersmith

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