West Virginia Drug Addiction
In Jackson County, West Virginia, they were the two top news stories of 2009: the closing of the Century Aluminum plant and the indictment of 51 people on charges relating to the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine.
When the Century plant closed, it took more than 800 jobs with it: more than 630 jobs from the plant itself and 170 from supporting companies in the region. It also took millions of dollars annually out of the community, in payroll and in services and products purchased locally.
Many areas of the U.S., both rural and urban, find that unemployment, poverty and crime go hand in hand. Methamphetamine manufacturing in the home, garage, shack or even a moving car may increase in an area that has recently lost jobs and incomes. Meth is so easy to make, if you can acquire the materials necessary, some of which are illegal, that it can be a hard temptation to resist.
In addition to poverty and unemployment, West Virginia also sees high levels of adult illiteracy, broken families, teenage pregnancy and public corruption. These conditions plus a long-established tradition of illegal alcohol production create a tolerant atmosphere for illegal drug activities among some citizens.
Coal Mining Also Becoming Restricted
To produce aluminum, it takes coal. West Virginia has plenty of coal. But earlier mining methods often meant taking off an entire hilltop to mine out the coal - a practice very destructive to the environment. Old mines play out and permits are requested for new mines, but new regulations on mining methods are restricting the number of new mines that can be opened. Thus more jobs and income to local communities are restricted or lost.
Not surprisingly, the pattern of coal mines in West Virginia roughly matches the location of the state's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas: the south and southwest corners with a streak pointing northeast up the middle of the state.
Methamphetamine is Not the Only Drug Problem
Like many of the Eastern states, West Virginia sees problems with marijuana cultivation and consumption and diversion and abuse of pharmaceutical drugs oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone and Xanax (alprazolam). There is some cocaine in both its powder and crack cocaine forms, and heroin. Very often, it's inner cities that suffer from crack cocaine. In West Virginia, rural areas are the hardest hit by both crack use and the violence that accompanies it. Most heroin use is seen in the northern and central part of the state.
From West Virginia, it's easy to take the Interstates to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh or Washington, D.C. to obtain stocks of cocaine and heroin to sell to West Virginians. Prescription drugs are obtained through prescription fraud, theft from healthcare facilities or individuals, doctor-shopping or the internet.
Addiction Plagues Eight Percent of Population
Of citizens 12 and older, 120,000 or eight percent state that they are dependent on or abusing alcohol or illicit drugs. Only about seven thousand people found treatment within the state for their problems with drugs or alcohol. Thus well over a hundred thousand people were without drug rehab or alcohol abuse treatment help for their addictions.
The only outcomes of addiction are sobriety, prison or death. Those who don't find an effective drug recovery facility either achieve sobriety on their own or face serious consequences.
The majority of people entering drug treatment centers do so for help with problems with alcohol consumption. The next largest group falls under the heading "other opiates" (than heroin) which would include methadone, OxyContin, Vicodin or Lortab, morphine or Suboxone, a new drug used in addiction treatment for heroin.
Also in 2008, more than 900 West Virginians sought addiction treatment for marijuana addiction. More than 300 needed to find substance abuse treatment centers for crack cocaine or powder cocaine.
Until more rehab centers are available, more West Virginians will suffer from substance abuse and addiction, with some losing their way into crime and prosecution or even losing everything to an overdose.
Narconon Drug Information Department