SD's opioid problem more than 'hype'

In a column by Frank Carroll headlined “Opioids are not a problem in South Dakota,” an argument was made that South Dakota’s opioid epidemic is more of a “bad case of hysteria and hype.” This could not be further from the truth, so please allow me to make a correction.

Opioids are a problem in South Dakota, and Rep. Kristi Noem’s work to address the issue, including her support of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and efforts to cut down on drug trafficking, should be supported — not condemned. While it is true that not everyone who takes an opioid will become addicted, 86 percent of young people who are habitual drug users had used opioid pain relievers non-medically before moving to a heroin addiction. Nationwide, our country has seen a 200 percent increase in opioid-related deaths.

That doesn’t sound like “a bad case of hysteria” to me. Thirty-two South Dakotans died from opioid overdoses in 2013. That doesn’t sound like “hype.”

Marjorie Bender

Spearfish

Big government not always bad

I noticed in the Journal that the Rapid Valley Volunteer Fire Department is having its annual pancake supper on Oct. 13. My wife and I had attended this event when we lived at Elks Country Estates, but not in their beautiful new fire station.

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The station was built at a cost of $3.79 million. Of that total, the fire department provided $37,800. I was curious to know where the rest of the money was obtained and found out it was provided via a direct loan from Rural Development, an agency of the USDA. As a retired USDA employee, I know the value to rural communities of these loans, but knowing the anti-big-government values of this area, I was surprised. Couldn't the loan have been obtained at one of our local banking institutions?

I'm betting that the terms of the Rural Development loan would have been much better than those at a local bank, if a local bank was even willing to provide the loan. This was evidently one of the numerous times when big government was a good thing.

Lynn DesLauriers

Rapid City  

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