News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

February 5, 2014

Readers’ Forum: Feb. 6, 2014

Wrong solution to meth problem

 

Since 2004, the Indiana Institute for Working Families (IIWF) has been committed to promoting public policies that help Hoosier families achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency. Our efforts go towards helping the 2.45 million Hoosiers who fall below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

We are at the frontlines of policy battles that concern the rights of these people, and we work hard to represent them on all levels of government.

The IIWF supports the decision by the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Procedure to deny a vote on the recently proposed legislation that would have significantly curtailed the rights of law-abiding Indiana families. The proposal they rejected would have implemented a costly prescription requirement for all cold and allergy medicine containing pseudoephedrine.

Requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine is not the right solution to Indiana’s meth problem. A mandate would have had a drastically negative effect on low-income families who rely on this medicine remaining affordable. Families under the poverty level can ill-afford to skip work for a doctor’s visit; not to mention the additional costs required for that visit. Moreover, few of the families our organization represents have enough insurance to cover these visits, forcing parents to pay out-of-pocket for each consultation.

We are thankful for the legislature’s efforts to curtail meth abuse, and we are equally grateful for their choice to protect honest, low-income families.

— Derek Thomas

Senior Policy Analyst

Indiana Institute

for Working Families

The parallels of meat and tobacco

Recently, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Surgeon General’s first report on health hazards of cigarette smoking, his office released a report linking smoking to several new chronic diseases. These include diabetes, erectile dysfunction, cancer of the colon and liver, and stroke, in addition to the well-known links to lung and oral cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

The parallels between cigarette smoking and meat consumption are uncanny:

• The chronic diseases linked to both activities and costs of associated medical care and lost productivity are very similar.

• The first government reports warning consumers about health hazards of cigarette smoking and meat consumption were issued in 1964 (by Surgeon General) and in 1977 (by Senate Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs), respectively.

• The first warning labels on cigarette and meat packaging were required in 1966 and 1994.

• Both activities are discouraged by health advocates and both are declining

But there is one important difference: The meat industry impacts more state economies with stronger congressional clout than the tobacco industry. A Surgeon General’s report on the hazards of meat consumption is most unlikely.

Our health remains our personal responsibility.

— Theo Mattson

Terre Haute

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