Letters to the editor — Sept. 11, 2019

Thanks, from the grange

The Sequim Prairie Grange would once more like to thank everyone in this community for the help and donations given to make our “Summer Ice Cream Socials” successful this year.

We were able to raise money toward the roof for the grange building, for the Bischoff family and the Sequim High School FFA program.

We couldn’t do this without Sunny Farms, who donated all the bananas, Dairy Queen for donating the banana boats, and the best team ever assembled. We had help from FFA members and their leaders, and others who dropped by to put an apron on.

We are also grateful for all the folks who attended.

Marie Paddock and Loretta Bilow


Opiate treatment facility work backing

I am a Sequim resident and family physician working in Clallam County. I ran a medication assisted treatment (MAT) clinic in Port Angeles for three years, prescribing suboxone for opiate addiction. It was the most fulfilling and emotionally rewarding practice of my more than 30 years as a doctor.

My suboxone patients were mostly just good people with a serious medical problem, given a chance at effective treatment. They were able to keep their jobs, hold onto their families, go to school; in short, they were able to live normal lives.

Treatment takes guts and willpower, and most of these folks were intent on staying clean, whatever it took.

Like any other illness, there is no perfect treatment. About 75 percent of my patients responded well to MAT; others did not. These numbers correspond well with studies done on MAT programs in larger populations.

Being able to help three-quarters of a group of our neighbors with a medical illness more than justifies having to deal with a minority who are unable or unwilling to work with the system to get better.

At present the public is being given half-truths and outright lies about the MAT clinic to be built in Sequim. I encourage my health care colleagues to put the facts about MAT before the community.

I’m fully behind using a proven, effective medication and counseling program to treat a serious medical issue in our community. This is what is being offered to us. Let’s support it.

Joel Yelland


Consider the statistics on the ineffectiveness of a MAT facility

Everyone wants to see people with opioid addictions heal and return to a purposeful life. However, too many negatives surround the plan to place a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) facility in Sequim that are not yet common knowledge.

Sequim residents should get honest answers to the concerns listed below:

1. What percentage of patients starting treatment remain drug-free one year after they discontinue taking Suboxone? (8.6 percent, 5 percent, in two different studies. (See axisresidentialtreatment.com/suboxone-abuse/the-case-for-suboxone-when-harm-reduction-is-necessary, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3992357/) Are opioid addicts given a real chance at recovery or are clinic providers and drug manufacturers generating enormous revenue at the expense of taxpayers while helping a small number of patients?

2. Why will treatment in Sequim be different than the other MAT clinics across America? Residents in those towns were given the same assurances before their MAT Center opened that we have been given. The problems that ensued there were worse than anyone imagined, time after time! (www.ocregister.com/2017/12/17/are-drug-rehab-centers-fueling-homelessness-in-southern-california)

3. Has a case study and business plan been completed on the adverse impact of a MAT facility on the city of Sequim? If not, how can $7.2 million in taxpayer dollars be dispersed for this project before that has been completed?

4. Will taxpayers alone be paying for additional expenses like police, jail, court time and cleanup that this “Healing Campus” will bring to Sequim? Can anyone name one town where a MAT facility has been placed that this was not a huge problem? If the answer to that is Anacortes, remember that facility was placed way out in the countryside away for a good reason.

John Mackay


MAT attitudes fed by fear

From reading fear-stoked warnings injected into public discourse from the anti-MAT (medication-assisted treatment) clinic group, I am wondering if Sequim residents are at risk of another addiction.

Fear is a potent propaganda tool used ever-more widely in our current divisive culture. Addictively, it stokes negative emotions stirred by adrenalin. Fear of the “other” becomes a potent hormone-induced delusion.

In their case, they’ve brewed a strong dose injecting into conscious and subconscious fears of the “other”: violent addicts, the homeless, transients, panhandlers, tent cities, Seattle’s migrating junkies, acres of discarded needles, threats of tribal over-reach, property values declining, losing autonomy with intruding government control, losing Pleasantville security behind idyllic picket fences.

Clallam County has second highest rate of addiction in Washington state with more than 30-million oxycodone and hydrocodone pills prescribed here. The MAT Healing Campus offers opioid abusers medically proven opportunities for sustained recovery. Not a methadone-only clinic, it combines meds with treatments – relieving withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings causing bodily chemical imbalances (USDHHS research).

Fear closes minds to learning directly about the Jamestown Tribe’s Medically Assisted Treatment Clinic plans to provide an array of services. Tribal leaders have 30 years experience building inclusive responsive health services for our greater community. The Jamestown Clinic has four years experience treating 500-plus patients with opioid addiction without criminal incidents.

Knowing this should call for a return to “small town values” the MAT opponents cry for — supporting our tribal neighbors’ dedication to continuing to provide health care for all.

Sylvia Meyer

Port Angeles

MAT will ruin Sequim

This medication-assisted treatment (MAT) facility is not appropriate for a small city with limited resources. There will be a need for more police, EMT and emergency room facilities at taxpayers’ expense.

We do not believe the statement that the clinic will only serve people from the peninsula’s surrounding areas. The facility needs volume to be successful.

We also do not believe the statement that addicts will be bused in and out every day.

People seeking treatment won’t always go back to where they came from. We have seen this happen before in other cities with methadone clinics. This facility is very close to Washington Street residents and businesses.

People using the clinic’s drugs offered will be in it for the long-term, replacing one drug for another. What about people addicted to crystal meth — will the facility also accept these addicts? We have not been able to get an answer to this question.

We can expect to see addicts panhandling, committing crimes and a general blight on the area. There will be more homeless encampments off US Highway 101. Everyone knows this, no matter how they feel about helping addicts.

Addicts will not be contained to the facility; they’ll see opportunities in our city. People who moved from big cities saw firsthand what large methadone facilities do to an area, no matter how well-run. That’s why there is so much opposition.

We know what the future holds if this facility is placed in its proposed location. Please move it somewhere else.

I hope we don’t have to say, “We told you so.”

Greg and Chris Miner


MAT clinic would address current problems

We would all like to live in a community without drugs, but such a place does not exist today. The opioid crisis is right here in Sequim.

Many drug users were victims of childhood trauma, which dramatically raises the chances of developing serious mental and physical health issues, including addiction. Children who have experienced trauma need help, and if they don’t get it they may fall into a trap of using drugs to numb the pain.

For far too long, treatment has focused on rehab facilities and 12-step programs. Relapse is common with these approaches because patients struggle to overcome the physical cravings and withdrawal symptoms, while getting far too little help with resolving the trauma that led to addiction in the first place. Effective treatment must address the reason for the drug use. Eliminating the drugs alone simply brings the pain back to the forefront.

The proposed Jamestown S’Klallam Healing Campus will bring effective medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to address cravings and withdrawal, while also providing long-term therapy to work through the underlying cause of the drug use, as well as other needed care.

This world-class approach is currently practiced at only two other facilities in the U.S. We should be extremely proud to have this model facility in our community.

The clinic will not bring crime and drugs to Sequim – those are already here, whether we choose to see them or not. Instead it will bring care and healing – something our community surely needs.

Mark White


Methadone ‘clinic’ will bring serious problems

Now that the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and politicians have dumped the methadone Pandora’s Box in our community, and the state has given them our tax dollars as the key to open it, the law of unintended consequences will take over.

The serious issues for those of us left to deal with the inevitable mess are: accountability and liability.

Will the tribe step up to be fully accountable for the damages to our community: the inevitable homelessness, theft, burglary, auto accidents, bodily injury including we hope not, murder, rape and reduced property values, destroyed town reputation as a place to live … ?

Will the tribe accept liability for restitution of our damages, or will it hide in sovereign immunity or some other legal evasion?

The tribe paints a rosy picture. OK, then guarantee it by accepting full accountability and liability. It won’t.

A factoid of interest: Drug use is a primary indicia for “red-flagging” a potentially violent individual.

The consequence is that the tribal “clinic” will be dumping hundreds of red flagged “patients” in our community each year. Indeed, within a few years they will outnumber the entire population of Sequim.

But by then, the politicians who engineered this Pandora’s Box in our midst will be long gone into the sunset of their retirement, paid-for by our tax dollars. Don’t be so naive to expect them to stand up and say we are accountable for our decisions.

Jim Dulin


Tribe’s legacy in the balance

A recent guest editorial in the Sequim Gazette (“Divisiveness Muddles Clinic Opposition,” Aug. 28, page A-12) takes to task the Save Our Sequim (SOS) movement. It argues merits by contrasting faults of SOS up against virtues of the Jamestown Klallam Tribe — more of a stacked rhetorical argument than persuasive.

I was particularly struck by the editorialist’s observation “Why would the tribe … propose something that would somehow bring harm to the community?” I find this question striking when asked of an organization that has profited off of the greater community’s vices. Furthermore, it’s growing that enterprise into marijuana.

Yes, the tribe enjoys a positive image in spite of its sources of income. How long will that image endure if the leadership has guessed wrong on the clinic? The editorialist cites problems associated with similar big city clinics. Chairman Ron Allen, are you sure this clinic won’t be visited by similar incidents? How many headlines will in take — “Child attacked with dirty needle”; “Woman robbed and assaulted in street in daylight”; “The elderly live in fear, prisoners in their own locked homes” — before public outrage boils over? If it does so, how long before that mantle of goodwill evaporates exposing the true nature of the income stream underneath?

SOS has been repeatedly criticized for not coming to the table to “compromise” while the tribe has been hanging tough. Perhaps it is time for the tribal leadership to grasp what is at risk and come legacy in-hand to that table in serious discussion with the community.

Donnie Hall

Port Angeles

Let your voice be heard with vote

At the first meeting the speaker said the methadone treatment facility was a “done deal” and from the response of our leaders and newspapers that is true.

It’s too late now to have a tantrum. The leaders and politicians who facilitated the facility have their own reasons.

Now our only input will be our vote at the next election, which will be soon. Do you want your representative to decide for you on important issues or would you like to have input when it would count?

Find out who supported the approval and let them know in the only way they will recognize. Vote.

Gerald Carpenter


Children need to be cared for

I grew up on a farm in Michigan, the second of 10 children. My parents were hard workers and taught us the same. My father worked in a factory and after the youngest child started school; mom got a job as a bus driver for the school system.

We had good neighbors and everyone pitched in at harvest time. We learned caring and respect for others.

I’m not sure President Donald Trump learned any of those things. He had lots of money obviously, but where was the love and caring? Otherwise, how could he possibly take children away from their parents? Just think of that … your family walking that journey.

People don’t risk their children’s lives to cross the desert just for an adventure. They do it to protect their lives from poverty, murderous gangs and a corrupt government. You would do it – I would do it.

And in our America we would accept these children to be taken in, given adequate health care, safe schools and stabilized homes with their parents and given an opportunity to bring their strong work ethic and love of family values to beautify America.

Kathy Withey


Tariff tutorial

Many in our community don’t understand how tariffs work; in fact, they have it backward. When China sends goods to the U.S. they are received via customs and put on hold until the tariff is paid. The “receiving distributor,” or importer, is responsible for paying the designated tariff to the U.S. Treasury. China does not pay the U.S. Treasury the tariff.

The distributor, or importer, having paid the tariff, will increase their price on the goods before passing on to the merchant.

The merchant then sells the goods to the consumer at a price equal to the original cost from China plus the imposed tariff. Tariffs are essentially an imposed sales tax on the consumer.

Stan Tomich


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