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Louisiana editorial roundup

The Associated PressMay 15, 2019

Recent editorials from Louisiana newspapers:

May 13

The Daily Comet on prisoners getting implants to fight opioid addiction:

Louisiana’s prisoners are leading the way in testing a new treatment for opioid addiction.

BioCorRx has offered the state prison system 10 surgical implants, which are still in the testing phase. According to prison officials, the treatment lasts three or four months, relieving some of the symptoms of addicts and leading to a more likely outcome of recovery without recidivism or overdoses. The current treatment of injections is much more expensive and lasts only one month.

This seems to be a promising process that could make recovery more attainable. The one concern here is that it is being tested on prisoners before it has been cleared for use by federal health officials. The drug the implant delivers has been an effective treatment, but the implant is still being tested.

However, the program is being offered only to prisoners who volunteer for it as they prepare to re-enter society after their sentences. As long as it is completely voluntary, these prisoners might find long-lasting relief from the symptoms that could otherwise pave the way back into addiction and crime.

Some prisoner advocates have expressed concern that the precedent could make other prisoners more vulnerable to the use of unapproved medical devices. But this is what looks like a promising solution to a problem that has afflicted our criminal justice system for years: the ability of released former prisoners to beat the addictions that all too often paved their way into jail in the first place.

The other promising aspect of the program is that the state is emphasizing treatment over punishment. Yes, there is a recognition that these prisoners, like all others, have to serve their sentences. But there is also a recognition that there were issues that could have exacerbated these people’s legal problems and that treating those issues will be a key part of keeping them out of jail in the future.

“Something’s working,” said Dr. Susan Tucker, a clinical psychologist in Bossier Parish. “It is making a difference. It is effective. For the correctional population who are leaving us and are clean, it really is the perfect drug to use. This one cannot be abused.”

There are legitimate concerns about conducting medical testing on prisoners, but this looks like a case where those who are open to the treatment can get real benefits from it.

Online: https://www.dailycomet.com

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May 13

The Advocate on Nungesser double-dipping:

As lieutenant governor, Billy Nungesser is Louisiana’s roving ambassador, a job that obligates him to represent the state well.

But double-dipping on the taxpayer dime isn’t a good look — either for Nungesser, or the state that he’s supposed to be promoting.

A recent investigation by WWL-TV revealed that Nungesser has gotten an extra $8,400 in his annual public salary as a personal vehicle allowance even though a State Police unit has apparently been driving him pretty much wherever he goes.

In a review of public records, WWL also found instances when his staff might have been paid with public resources while they worked at campaign events for his re-election.

Nungesser was inconsistent in explaining discrepancies and evasive about his schedule, which would help clarify where he’s been, how he got there, and who paid for it.

As the official leader of Louisiana’s tourism efforts, Nungesser’s been touting “Feed Your Soul” as the state’s marketing slogan.

“Feed your bank account” might be a more apt description of his workplace practices, and taxpayers deserve better.

Online: https://www.theadvocate.com

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May 11

The American Press on trade war with China:

The tough trade posture by the United States against China is fully justified based on China’s long history of violations of international trading norms, intellectual property theft and human rights abuses.

President Trump just slapped on another $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports in response to China’s cheating and recalcitrance in the ongoing trade talks.

The president, who is receiving bi-partisan support in Congress for our nation’s tough trade posture, said in a statement Friday, “Talks with China continue in a very congenial manner — there is absolutely no need to rush — as tariffs are now being paid to the United States by China of 25 percent on $250 billion worth of goods and products. These massive payments go directly to the Treasury of the U.S.”

He went on to say there is a $100 billion imbalance in trade with China, and he added that the government will use $100 billion from the tariffs being collected to buy agricultural products from “our Great Farmers,” and in larger amounts than China ever has.

Trump noted the food will be shipped to poor and starving countries in the form of humanitarian assistance.

“In the meantime we will continue to negotiate with China in the hopes that they do not again try to redo the deal!”

China has used much of its ill-gotten gains from trade cheating to build up its military might. Randall G. Schriver, assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security at the U.S. Defense Department, said just a few days ago, “China’s air force has flown its J-20 fifth-generation aircraft. The aircraft has stealth characteristics and many U.S. officials have said they believe it may contain technologies stolen from U.S. manufacturers.

In addition, China is one of the world’s worst human rights abusers. Just recently, the Catholic News Agency reported that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom found that despite last year’s Vatican-China deal on the appointment of bishops, “repression of the underground Catholic Church increased during the latter half of the year.”

There can be little doubt that the current U.S. policy of getting tough with China trade is the right policy for this nation, both from the standpoint of the economy and national security.

Online: https://www.americanpress.com

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