Are Drugs Destroying West Virginia?


Smoking_CrackAre drugs destroying West Virginia?  This past week, one U.S. Congresswoman from the Mountain State hinted that they may be — stating that methamphetamine is posing a “grave danger” to the state’s communities.

Last week, U.S. Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) announced that the State of West Virginia will receive $1 million in grant funding to combat the making and distribution of methamphetamine in the Mountain State.

Of the ten states receiving funding through the federal initiative, which aims to combat the use of meth, West Virginia was the only state whose funding peaked into the seven-digit range  — accentuating the level of desperation felt by many in this problematic fight.  The funds will be used by state law enforcement agencies to assist them in responding to the manufacture and distribution of meth.

“Meth use and manufacturing pose a grave danger to our communities,” Rep. Capito said, adding, “and our local law enforcement officials have worked diligently to fight the spread of meth.”

In recent years, many throughout the nation have taken notice of what can only be described as rampant drug use throughout the Appalachians.  Tyler Durden, who wrote a commentary piece on modern-day Appalachia, blamed the widespread drug addiction problem, felt especially strong in West Virginia, on the state’s failing economy. 

“In Appalachia, the abuse of alcohol, meth and other legal and illegal drugs is significantly higher than in the U.S. population as a whole.  In a desperate attempt to deal with the pain of their lives, many people living in the region are looking for anything that will allow them to ‘escape’ for a little while,” said Durden, who went on to quote an account provided by Chris Hedges of his time along the Tug River in West Virginia:

“Joe and I are sitting in the Tug River Health Clinic in Gary with a registered nurse who does not want her name used. The clinic handles federal and state black lung applications. It runs a program for those addicted to prescription pills. It also handles what in the local vernacular is known as ‘the crazy check’ — payments obtained for mental illness from Medicaid or SSI — a vital source of income for those whose five years of welfare payments have run out. Doctors willing to diagnose a patient as mentally ill are important to economic survival.

“’They come in and want to be diagnosed as soon as they can for the crazy check,’ the nurse says. ‘They will insist to us they are crazy. They will tell us, ‘I know I’m not right.’ People here are very resigned. They will avoid working by being diagnosed as crazy.’

“The reliance on government checks, and a vast array of painkillers and opiates, has turned towns like Gary into modern opium dens. The painkillers OxyContin, fentanyl — 80 times stronger than morphine — Lortab, as well as a wide variety of anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax, are widely abused. Many top off their daily cocktail of painkillers at night with sleeping pills and muscle relaxants. And for fun, addicts, especially the young, hold ‘pharm parties,’ in which they combine their pills in a bowl, scoop out handfuls of medication, swallow them, and wait to feel the result.”

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YOUR OPINION: Are drugs “destroying” the Mountain State?  What are some examples as to why or why not?  Leave a comment below:


  1. I believe W.V. is no different than other states Iam originally from P.A. n the problems there too…however that being said people like me with my body riddled with arthritus n barely able to walk due to crippled feet cant get relief either from drs, hospitals n disability.Its time the public here stops treatung everyone like a addict n do there job n still help those of us that need help n put the pill pushing drug addicts in jail to stay

  2. I think if the state spent a quarter of the money on building more safe recreational facilities and providing more things to do it would help extremely. I have lived in Southern WV my entire life and never been exposed to meth. However, I have been on just about every other drug there is. I take full responsibility for my actions, but I think if there were more things to do here the drug problem would drastically decrease. We have nothing here to do besides get a buzz for fun. I never wanted to do drugs. I was a perfect student raised by a great Christian family. I hated “druggies” in school. But as soon as I tried to have a life I quickly realized there is no life in WV. Before I ever tried anything I was harassed repeatedly by our corrupt cops. They always pulled me over and searched me, and never once had a reason. I drove an older vehicle and obeyed all the laws. One time I pulled into a carwash at night to spray off my truck and before I exited my vehicle there were 2 state police pulling me out of my truck. They just knew i had drugs because i pulled into a car wash at night. They busted my new speakers searching, pulled my pants down and spread my butt cheeks and all before letting me go. I was 16. Fast forward 6 years. Still never been in trouble. The cops bust in my home tearing it apart, all the while exclaiming they would take us faggots to jail for one reason or another. After a long extensive search all they found was an ibuprofen 800 my mother in law gave me. Guess what? They took me and my longtime boyfriend both to jail for fraudulent prescription purchasing. That is the only time I’ve ever been in trouble. My boyfriend had been once before because they pulled him over and found a tic tac in an ink pen cap, and took him to jail for possession of methamphetamines. Just thought I’d share my story.

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