Thriving in sobriety

In a Feb. 7 article (‘‘City’s Democratic primary crowded’’), I was chagrined to read the reporter’s portrayal of Tamara Cummings’ journey through the disease of addiction. The description lacked the balance one would expect, sensationalizing the details and consequences of her life during the active phase of her alcohol use disorder.

Had the article been more balanced, the writer might have mentioned that Cummings has achieved much since seeking treatment and building a sustainable recovery. She became a certified chemical dependency counselor, earned an associate’s degree (with a 3.8 GPA) in social work with a concentration in chemical dependency, and also earned state certification as a peer recovery coach.

Cummings has worked as a house manager in a women’s recovery home. Her work has affected those involved with Summit County Children Services, the Summit County Juvenile Court and Summa Health Barberton Emergency Department’s pilot program focused on helping those seeking treatment.

Cummings has used her life’s experiences to help others find a pathway out of addiction. The single biggest barrier to engaging people in treatment is the stigma and shame society places on individuals and families. By focusing solely on the struggles of Cummings, the Beacon Journal has done a disservice to those in or seeking active recovery.

Addiction is a disease, not a moral failing. People suffering from a substance use disorder are not bad people trying to get good, they are sick people trying to get well. People like Cummings who overcome addiction and all of its secondary consequences to become productive citizens are nothing short of inspirational. Recovery is possible, as evidenced by over 23 million people in recovery in the United States.

Gerald Craig, executive director, Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services Board

 

Hot in Akron

While it is true that “weather” is not “climate,” macro-level climate changes certainly influence weather patterns. This is most readily seen over extended periods of time … say 100 years or so.

The Beacon Journal’s weather chart for February published on Feb. 3 is a case in point. While encompassing over a century of record keeping, the data revealed not a single record low temperature since 1996. On the other hand — and in step with rising ocean and land-based average temperatures — there have been nine daily record highs recorded over the same period (with two additional in the 1980s).

Notably, eight of the nine record February highs have occurred since 2000. The two warmest of these, both recorded to have been 76 degrees, were in 2017 and 2018. Science and data-driven facts are to be believed.

Jim Walker, Massillon

 

Regressive tax plan

I am disappointed in the Feb. 9 editorial ‘‘Why Ohio needs a higher gas tax." The editorial board seems to have endorsed the proposed gas tax increase, without even a nod to its regressive nature. Yes, we need to have our roads repaired and upgraded, but the funds should come from our general revenue, which comes from our more progressive tax system. Why should lower-income residents pay a disproportional portion of their income to fix the roads? If you earn more, you should pay more. That is progressive.

Do we really want other states, like Pennsylvania, deciding for us what a ‘‘fair’’ rate is?

Philip Kroll, Akron