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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A simple solution to the opioid crisis

In the first decade of this century, West Virginia became the nation's leader in drug overdose deaths. The culprit was abuse of Oxycontin and similar prescription painkillers, which we nicknamed hillbilly heroin.

A Democratic Legislature and Democrats Governors Bob Wise and Joe Manchin ignored the problem. Instead, they concentrated on making Sudafed and similar over-the-counter cold and allergy remedies prescription drugs in any amount.

They did so because Sudafed and the like were used in making home-made meth. Why not require a prescription to buy corn since it is used to make moonshine?

Meth was a problem, and meth labs blowing up was a problem. But Oxycontin and the like were killing people in record number.

They still do.

Republicans took over the Legislature in 2014 after an 84-year exile from power, The state finally began taking opioid abuse seriously. I am not crediting Republicans with this, but rather the end of the Democratic Party's obsession with Sudafed regulation.

To his credit, Barack Obama came to Charleston. The usual government ideas were floated, mainly counseling and needle exchanges. Their efficacy is subject to debate.

They treat the symptom.

The ailment continues. Its source is idle hands, which are the devil's workshop. The older I get, the more I realize the wisdom of the Bible.

The cure is having a vital middle class. We must bolster and expand the middle class if we are every going to end the Opioid War.

The middle class has largely left West Virginia over the last 70 years as men (and now women) seek middle class jobs in other states. This economic exodus robs communities of its social structure.

You need coaches and church volunteers and volunteer firemen. I am not saying we don't have them. We just don't have them in large numbers. Young adults have too much time on their hands, and too little guidance.

To get a thriving middle class, you need jobs.

It's not just the coal mines that shut down. The aluminum plants, the steel plants, and the chemical industry are shadows of what they were 40 years ago. Blame unions, blame imports, blame the demise of Union Carbide, or blame whatever else you want, but the jobs are gone, as are the hearts of many communities.

Aluminum, steel, and chemicals were West Virginia's post-coal economy. They are largely gone.

Coal mining, meanwhile, continues, providing cheap power for industry, and a revenue stream for state and local governments. We can mine at this rate for another 250 to 400 years at the rate we are going using today's technology.

The simple solution to drug abuse is to bring back the jobs and the state economy.

I said my solution was simple, not easy.


  1. After I broke my left arm three years ago and had surgery, they put me on Oxy. Didn’t like it but had to take it because of the pain. Personally, would’ve preferred some good mellow-you-out grass. But Saira Blair set me straight on the opioid crisis. I thought because I didn’t like it, nobody would. Not true. And as for jobs, Big D, I wish I could hit the Lotto and get a business started down in southern DubVee. But absent that, the EP’s doing pretty well! The Hobby Lobby just opened!

  2. Same in rural Oregon South, East and
    southern coast. where the Deplorables live,
    Oregon could have a great resource based economy, We even have potental gas and oil. But due to the big blue boil on the arse of the red elephant (Willamette valley ,north coast, and Portlandia .It is Marijuana and "Keep it in the Ground." Unfortunately .If West Virginia can turn red so can Oregon. We still have horrible Meth and Oxycontin abuse, too and the same problem-Democrats..TG

    1. Exactly correct and ditto's from the "Oregon Outback"(tm)! Look at the electoral maps by county, and Oregon is not a blue state except for being outvoted by the lefty loons dominating the population centers. The "State of Jefferson" movement has been rumbling for decades. Whether it ever achieves anything, the discontent is very real.

  3. This whole thing bothers me because it is already difficult enough to get pain medication sufficient to end pain, what with all the reporting required by the government and their overwatch of physicians and their fear of reprisals by same government.

    1. This bothers me too. I'm a vet, and have often gone to VA hospitals where I've met other vets in terrible pain; worse than the pain is the fact that they can't get what should be easily available painkillers. The hospital, and the doctors, are afraid to prescribe them, fearful that if the drug's misused their heads will roll, whether it's their fault or not.

      I don't usually take any painkillers, but the last time I was in hospital for surgery I was informed via the printed handout to bring my usual prescription drugs, enough for a 3 day stay; so I did. They were promply confiscated, and I was told I needed new prescriptions for my hospital stay.

      By the 3rd day, those prescriptions finally came through, just in time for me to take my BP meds after 2.5 days without them. By that time, my blood pressure was higher than it's been for years.

      All this insanity is due to the overreaction about opioids!

  4. Work cures many ills.

    I don’t understand or know the power of addiction but I have witnessed its destruction. Hopefully we will be seriously addressing the issue.

  5. I made the same point a couple of months ago. Great minds...

  6. Off topic but about a simple medical solution. My mother may of died of sepsis, yet I knew of a possible cure and maybe she could have survived had I know of her condition.
    Reportedly former President 41 has a sepsis infection. A new found treatment for sepeis is explained in the links. This treatment has had little exposure, is inexpensive and discovered accidentally, so one wonders if he has sepsis if this treatment is being used. I notified his family about it. This needs to get out since the MSM has apparently ignore it.

  7. It is a deeper problem than jobs. Granted WV had a lack of good paying middle class jobs (and drugs are definitely a bigger problem in economically distressed communities), but the opioid crisis exists where good paying jobs go begging. It is a cultural and spiritual crisis. It is also reflected in the walking dead of homelessness in cities up and down both coasts. We have a subculture existing on handouts and wacked out on drugs.

    We can over come this, but it is a far more complex issue than just economics.

    1. Women & men live in different worlds.
      A man without a job is without self-respect.
      A man without self-respect is an animal.
      Jobs are the solution. ANY legal jobs.

    2. Yes, and men need jobs with living wages that can support a wife and kids, even if the wife has to work, too. But schools are where the problem of despair begins IMHO.

  8. Hippies in the Sixties accused the older generation of being ignorant about drugs, and hence being in no position to hold forth on the subject to young people.

    You have to wonder what those tie-dyed clowns thought was in medkit’s syrettes. Mixed vitamins?

  9. Sadly, just because there is a problem doesn't mean there is a solution. Not a popular or encouraging notion, but I truly don't know how we can recreate a vibrant middle class in the country let along Appalachia. Our enemies reside in Washington D. C. It has been said that a fish rots from the head down and I think it is true. Our "elites" are comfortable with the decline of the nation as it doesn't affect them or their offspring. They have their boltholes and shuttle pods to escape the crashing ship and so feel no solidarity with their fellow citizens. Elsewhere there is a person who posts as TWANLOC, an acronym for "Those Who Are No Longer Our Countrymen." It is a penetrating and ominous observation reified in our government, particularly the "Deep State." They need to be redistributed around the country much as the relocation of FBI fingerprint center in Bridgeport. Do it with all the agencies and departments and etc. Get them away from the incestuous self-validating hive that is DC and its surrounding counties. And reduce their wages until they are middle class, not upper middle class.