Kudos to the 124th legislature for passing L.D. 833 (“An Act To Distribute Funds Received from the Racino in Bangor to the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Substance Abuse”).

For all those who complain about government ineptitude, here is an example of success. Money which was intended to be used to support individuals with compulsive gambling problems was being left unused due to the language of the original legislation.

Basically the program was created but no one knew about it because it the money could only be used for treatment of those whose primary issue was compulsive gambling.

The new legislation is smart in that it allows a new organization the opportunity to advertise for the sake of prevention and to make the public aware of the existence of services. It also allows those who may have other concerns, such as substance abuse or depression, to utilize services as well.

It was smart to foresee an increase in addictive gambling behavior with the opening of the racino in Bangor and provide treatment services. This new legislation is smarter yet by streamlining access to those services and promoting prevention. Nice work!

Nathan McKnight

Bangor

Mainers should march to protest sex trafficking

In his Opinion column on April 11 (“Web interest in march: bottomless”), Richard Connor noted, in a wondering way, that the recent women’s march for equal topless rights attracted “nearly 1 million visitors” to Web sites of local papers posting the story.

Of the event, critic Samuel Johnson might have said “it is not well done; but, you are surprised to find it done at all.”

The 20-year-old organizer of Portland’s Peep Parade has learned, too late, that the prurient are everywhere, and it is not “well done” to expose semi-nude females to ridicule and lewdness. This sends a provocative message. Nudity sells and sex-trafficked illegal female nudity is for sale via the Internet, for sale in illicit massage parlors and underground brothels; for sale in undercover restaurants, bars, beauty parlors; it is peddled by coerced prostitutes of all kinds.

Every year women and children are trafficked for sex into America, sent to cities throughout the country. Thousands of these foreign victims are here, along with American citizens, girls and young children, kidnapped or coerced into the sex trade.

Mainers should march to protest global sex trafficking. This is the real challenge to women’s sexual equality and status, not the “right” to go publicly bare-breasted. Promoting this type of nudity is shades of the hippie ’60s.

Our world in 2010 is too vicious, too dangerous for child’s play.

Jennifer Harrell

Camden

Early screening a key for detecting alcohol abuse

Physicians are key in helping parents to open the dialogue with their children around sensitive issues such as substance abuse and sexuality. In some instances, a health care provider may be the only safe avenue for a teen to access this vital information.

April is Alcohol Awareness month, and Dr. George Dreher, a psychiatrist with Maine Medical Center’s Family Practice, released an open letter to the medical and health care community in Maine about the importance of Screening and Brief Interventions. Routine SBIs could save lives while assisting individuals seeking medical attention in emergency rooms to get the help they need. According to a 2008 report from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, SBI is also one of the top five cost-saving measures.

How common is the alcohol problem? According to a National Household Survey, 29 percent of Maine youths ages 12-20 drink, and 20 percent binge drink. And 51 percent of 15-17-year-olds say they are personally concerned that they might do more sexually than they planned because they were drinking or using drugs, according to a National Survey of Adolescents and Young Adults.

As Dr. Dreher states, “Patients often try to change their substance use habits because a health care provider educates them about the associated risks and expresses concern for their health.”

It is clear that the more caring adults there are discussing alcohol use with youths, the better, so we encourage providers to include SBIs in their adolescent visits.

Some resources to help health care providers can be found on the Maine Office of Substance Abuse Web site at: www.maine.gov/dhhs/osa/prevention/community/healthcare.htm.

Lauren Grousd

Portland

‘Bleeding heart liberal’ poor choice for judgeship

If one were to go to Wikipedia and type in the term “bleeding heart liberal,” do you suppose a picture of U.S. District Judge nominee Michaela Murphy would pop up? After her erroneous reading and application of Maine law that led the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to unanimously overturn her decision not to apply Tina’s Law in a driving case, it would appear incumbent on Reps. Michael Michaud and Chellie Pingree to rethink their vetting of this inappropriate choice.

Perhaps Murphy forgot that the law was passed by a largely Democratic body in Augusta. Not to worry, she knows what is best and is courageous in her attempts to apply her ideas as to decency. Her disdain for what the law says is obvious. Too bad “Night Court” isn’t still in production, I think we have another nonthinking judge.

Richard J. Foley

Gorham

Real Maine gun owners don’t flaunt their weapons

I write this letter as a combat veteran.

The only people with a need to walk around with loaded weapons on display in national parks are either cowards or bullies. Probably both. If, in addition to that, they are paranoid, they shouldn’t be allowed to have guns at all.

Openly carrying a weapon during an exercise sponsored by a constitutionally endorsed “well regulated militia” such as the National Guard or the Army Reserves is fine. And belonging to the Guard or the Reserves is an act of patriotic sacrifice.

Many, if not most, Mainers, own guns and use them responsibly to hunt, to target or skeet shoot and to form collections, large and small. But these private platoons and their paranoid media allies are doing this nation no good whatsoever. No one wants to take their guns. No one is going to confiscate their weapons. They are paranoids not patriots.

Let us remember the victims, including those children in the government-run day care center of the Oklahoma City bombing — a most cowardly and unpatriotic act carried out by an ex-serviceman who was so full of hate and had become so paranoid of government regulation that he didn’t even want to register his car.

Chris Queally

Scarborough

Big-government protesters were absent in Bush years

There are a lot of people these days protesting against the government.

People are upset about the amount of government spending. They are concerned that our government is becoming too big and too powerful. They worry that the Constitution meant to keep the government in check is being disregarded. They worry that the president will ignore the principles of checks and balances as well as personal freedom, and in essence turn this country into a dictatorship.

Fearing tyranny, many of these protesters have taken to flying the banner that says, “don’t tread on me.” This flag is a favorite of mine, because I too have worried about the threat to freedom that can be posed by your own government.

As someone who has also been concerned about the potential for our civil liberties to be lost, the rule of law ignored, and wasteful spending of our tax dollars, I have just one question for the people who have made this the focus of their discontent: Where were you from 2001 to 2008?

Paul Parsons

Portland