Letters to the Editor, Oct. 3, 2018

Opioid support; breast cancer; aggressive driving

Opioid support available now

Dear Editor,

The opioid crisis continues to affect our cities and communities. In King County, one of our neighbors dies every 36 hours from an opioid overdose. On the Eastside of King County in 2017, there were 46 overdose deaths (8.2 per 100,000 people), a slight decrease from 2016 when 48 people died (8.7 per 100,000 people). Nationally over 115 people die every day from an opioid overdose.

Opioid use disorder is a major challenge for many family members, neighbors and fellow residents. Despite the challenges, the mayors of King County cities want you to know that there is reason for hope and opportunities to receive help.

First, you should know that an overdose is reversible if encountered fast enough. A medication called Naloxone can reverse an overdose. Recently, the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said, “Knowing how to use Naloxone and keeping it within reach can save a life.”

You can learn how to prevent overdose online at stopoverdose.org.

Second, you can safely dispose of unused medication, including opioids. About 80 percent of people who first use heroin started by misusing prescription opioids. King County residents can safely dispose of the medicines they no longer need by taking them to more than 100 drop boxes located in pharmacies, clinics and other locations throughout King County.

You can find a nearby drop box online at kingcountysecuremedicinereturn.org. Mail-back envelopes also are available for residents that are home bound or have limited mobility. There is no cost to residents to use the service.

Finally, opioid use disorder treatment works. Treatment, especially medication-assisted treatment, is effective in addressing opioid use disorder. If you or someone you know wants treatment, resources are available throughout King County. You can learn more about treatment options and receive help accessing treatment through the Recovery Helpline online at www.warecoveryhelpline.org.

Together, we can become informed about what works, and we can support each other to provide help to those experiencing opioid use disorder.

Sincerely,

Mayors Amy Walen of Kirkland, Matt Larson of Snoqualmie, Cythia Adkins of Medina, Denis Law of Renton, Amy Ockerlander of Duvall, Debbie Bertlin of Mercer Island, Christie Malchow of Sammamish, Richard Cahill of Yarrow Point, John Marchione of Redmond, George Martin of Clyde Hill, John Chelminiak of Bellevue, Mary Lou Pauly of Issaquah and Kenneth G. Hearing of North Bend.

“No” to Prop 1 tax increase

Through all of the discussions on the city’s need for a property tax increase in the form of a special levy, Proposition 1, I rarely hear discussion from the citizens’ perspective.

This year’s total city property tax increased an average of 18 percent. My increase was a whopping 23.5 percent. This means the average homeowner is paying an additional $1,610 this year, which you’ll be reminded of in four weeks on Oct. 31.

Who knows what tax increases we will see in 2019 from the different property tax components: state school part one, state school two – McCleary, local school support, county, city, port, library, emergency medical service, Sound Transit. No one seems to want to estimate this but we can be confident there will be increases across the board.

Regardless of how much the city says they need this new tax increase (which I am skeptical), the current and scheduled future tax increases have squeezed me and my neighbors and have compromised my daily living choices in order to plan and live within this new budget reality. And I am not alone. In the city’s own (city-funded) biennial survey, a majority of respondents did not want taxes raised and 79 percent said not to raise taxes as much as was being considered.

Here’s a savings for the council and city manager: If you are not going to listen to the survey or to the citizens, stop wasting our time and money contracting out for a survey that you don’t listen to.

Robin Russell

North Mercer Island

Firefighters take on breast cancer fight

In addition to fighting fires, your Mercer Island firefighters are sporting the color pink throughout October in efforts to fight breast and other cancers. We are fundraising all month to raise funds for breast cancer research and treatment at Fred Hutchinson here in Seattle.

With one in eight women diagnosed each year, we can expect an estimated 304,010 new cases of breast cancer and 45,920 deaths will be reported in 2018. Among all women affected, 85 percent have no family history. Firefighters are motivated to get involved and bring awareness for many reasons, but unfortunately it’s because many of us have been personally affected by the disease. Your firefighters are working to bring awareness to this disease and encouraging others to give so no breast cancer patient goes without life-saving treatments or having hope for a cure. Your firefighters, IAFF 1762, will kick off fundraising with a $250 contribution, and we hope many more will join us.

Everyone is at risk for breast cancer. The two most important risk factors are being female and getting older. Most women diagnosed with breast cancer have no other known factors. To help reduce your risk, be sure to maintain a healthy weight, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, exercise and limit alcohol consumption.

Your Mercer Island firefighters encourage everyone to participate in breast cancer awareness and prevention activities. If you would like to make a donation to our fundraising cause, make checks out to “Fred Hutch” and drop them off at either fire station or mail them to P.O. Box 1114, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

Ray Austin

President Mercer Island Firefighters Union

Not so fast

I’d like to respond to the gentleman who called me an expletive for “pulling up in front” of him, and proceeded to tail me on Island Crest Way.

It’s not exactly cutting you off if you are speeding. When I began pulling onto the road the coast was clear.

If you’re driving 50 mph on a 35 mph road around a curve, chances are you are the one who is going to be a danger to other people. Thank God I wasn’t a pedestrian trying to cross the street. This was just a few feet from the elementary school.

I sincerely hope you learn to slow down on the Island.

Travis Quezon

Mercer Island

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