Ask the experts about alcohol's damage

It is with much concern that I read the headlines of Thursday’s (Feb. 24) paper concerning alcohol retail. Whether we like to admit it or not, there is a crisis in this state in the use of alcohol, and its not just in the “bush” (read Native) communities. The effects of alcohol on spousal abuse, home violence, DWI deaths, and related tragedies should be the primary concern of our legislative leaders, not just the further marketing of alcohol. Suicide rates among our young are frightening, and I wonder about the role alcohol consumption plays in them. But certainly the rate of fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome effects are enormous. Calling them “fetal” is a misnomer, because it affects the entire life of the person who has it, not just their early years. It permanently alters their brain structures. And its not something that only happens in “bush” communities. It often takes a woman three of more weeks to discover she is pregnant. How about her alcohol consumption during that period? Three weeks where the fetus is forming and developing and may well be awash with alcohol if the woman chooses to party during that period.

Even though she may be dedicated to avoiding alcohol during the rest of her pregnancy, it may well be too late. The damage has been done. And it is permanent. Deb Evenson, in Homer, is an expert in FAS and its effects. I urge our state leaders to contact her or other experts to gain accurate information before taking steps that may well promote a higher use of alcohol. Whatever agency this ends up in needs to put public safety first, not marketing. If those who support right to life want an issue to champion, what issue could be better than one that preserves the integrity of the fetal brain.

Steve Wolf



Mon, 02/27/2017 - 20:01

My Turn: Mental health patients have rights

In the state’s ongoing effort to manage the rising costs of treating the disabled, it is the disabled who pay the price. In too many cases, there is no state standard of care for the disabled, even in regulations; when the state wants to save money, the first and easiest place is to encourage private facilities to reduce the quality of care and treatment for disabled psychiatric patients.

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Mon, 02/27/2017 - 20:01

My Turn: Trump’s looming assault on the separation of church and state

The president’s recent spate of executive orders; the continuing debate surrounding his immigration ban; the fallout resulting from his contentious interactions with two of our most trusted allies (Australia and Mexico); and his shocking defense of Vladimir Putin, a criminal, dictator and human rights violator, succeeded in deflecting attention from his fiery pronouncement to “destroy” the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches from engaging in political activity at the risk of losing their tax-exempt status. What the distractions failed accomplish, however, was diminishing the importance of safeguarding the principle of the separation of church and state.

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Mon, 02/27/2017 - 20:01

Letter: Go see ‘West Side Story’

I am writing to alert the Juneau community about West Side Story, one of the best theater productions that I have seen in Juneau in over 31 years of living here.

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Mon, 02/27/2017 - 20:01

My Turn: Does Alaska have a spending problem? Benchmarking is the answer.

The governor, some in the Legislature and even some prominent Alaskans don’t believe Alaska has a spending problem. They say that Alaska has a revenue problem and argue that Alaska needs to implement more revenue options, i.e. taking your money to fuel big government. Their tired refrain is simply to argue, “you can’t cut your way to prosperity.” On the contrary, we all know that you can’t spend your way to prosperity!

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