From Our Listeners

Letters: Prescription Drug Overdoses And Hashtags

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NPR's Celeste Headlee reads listener comments on previous show topics, including accidental deaths from prescription drug overdoses and the rise of Twitter's hashtag.


It's Tuesday and time to read from your comments. Last week, we talked about the rise in accidental deaths from prescription drug overdoses and the role of doctors in those cases. Nick(ph) in Indianapolis writes: I'm a patient that suffers from uncontrolled chronic pain. Every time I hear a story like this about egregious breaches of medical ethics in the prescription of opioid(ph) painkillers, I have to ask, where are these physicians? The nature of my pain is nebulous and poorly misunderstood. Most pain clinics won't even accept me as a patient, in most cases, I'm turned away at the phone. I don't even get to the door. Yes, I do feel that there is a problem with a very specific minority of over prescribing physicians, but the cost is that the rest of us desperately need better access to someone willing to discuss the nature of pain, pain medication and the overall process in our daily lives.

Political junkies also mark the 100th birthday of President Richard Nixon and shared their thoughts on his legacy - beyond Watergate. David(ph) in Hillsboro, New Jersey says: You say Nixon? I think Cambodia. And Steve(ph) Miller in Sacramento said: What I think of when I think of Nixon after Watergate is Amtrak. Without the establishment of Amtrak in 1971, there would be no intercity passenger trains in the U.S. Admittedly, Amtrak was established to kill the passenger train, but it actually saved it.

Hashtag was declared word of the year for 2012 by the American Dialect Society. And we talked about how this Twitter tool became so powerful and how you use it. Kara(ph) wrote to say: A high school senior in my hometown of Sussex, Wisconsin recently took his own life. He was a huge athlete and was one of those guys that everyone knew and was nice to everyone. After his passing, a group of seniors that knew him well started a campaign titled hashtag #ZStrong in memorial for the student. His last name started with a Z. They would tweet things about Aaron(ph) or pictures of people wearing red in remembrance and would end the tweet with #ZStrong. It gained so much momentum that last Friday, it was one of the top trending tweets. Students from our high school, from surrounding schools, and even famous athletes in Wisconsin were tweeting hashtag #ZStrong. It's been a great way to remember the student and to let others know about the student and what he did for the school.

And we misspoke, yesterday, about the president's inauguration ceremony. Of course, he puts his left hand on the Bible and then raises his right hand to be sworn in. And finally, congratulations are in order: Susan Gubar, who we first talked to, last May, about her book, "Memoir of A Debulked Woman" was honored by the National Book Critic Circle this week, with the 2013 lifetime achievement award. She shares that award with Sandra Gilbert, her co-author on "The Mad Woman in the Attic" and "The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women." If you have a correction, comments or questions for us, the best way to reach us is by email. Our address is Please let us know where you're writing from and give us a little help on how to pronounce your name. And if you're on Twitter, you can follow us there, @totn.

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