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State should build addiction center

I volunteer at the Salvation Army store. I work side by side with minimum-security inmates. They have proven to be some of the friendliest, nicest and hardest-working people I have ever met. I was told that over half of the inmates at the unit are drug addicts.

I know a lot about addiction. I became an alcoholic when I came back from Vietnam. After treatment, I became a certified chemical dependency counselor. Twenty years ago, a few months after my brother Jim died, I injured my neck on a call as an EMT with Keystone Ambulance Service. I was prescribed a high dose of morphine for the pain, and in short order I became addicted. The morphine helped kill the physical pain and eased my emotional pain from losing my brother.

One of the inmates told me the Mexican cartel has reached its tentacles into South Dakota with heroin. Expect more overdose deaths. I would like to see us build a long-term  chemical dependency center with a juvenile wing with Vision Funds. The state should do the lion's share of funding its operation. It will save money by not having so many people incarcerated. Chemical dependency is a disease.

Robert Ackerman

Rapid City

Republican Party becomes immoral

Several things have occurred recently that may seem unrelated but after further examination are inextricably intertwined. First, we have our own Sen. Mike Rounds touting how wonderful the new tax bill is for South Dakotans, somehow disregarding the fact that the vast majority of the benefits go to the wealthiest corporations and 1 percent of the population while actually increasing taxes on the lower- and middle-income earners (while adding a minimum of $1 trillion to national debt).

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Rounds’ colleague, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, explains this all away by saying if the regular folks were to get tax relief they would just fritter it away on “booze, women and movies.” (Notice how he defines women as a commodity.) At the same time, Republican Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch laments being unable to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program because “there is no money” although he and other senators from his party found $1.5 trillion to fund the aforementioned tax cuts for the elites. Meanwhile, the president of the United States openly endorses an accused pedophile for the U.S. Senate.

What’s the connection? These are all symptoms of the moral cesspool that is today’s Republican Party.

Bob Wilson

Rapid City

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