From The Intelligencer of Wheeling:
Gov. Jim Justice missed the mark a bit in reacting to some good news recently. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced the total number of drug overdose deaths in the state decreased from 2017 to 2018. Estimates show 952 drug overdose deaths in 2018, compared with 1,017 in 2017.
That is, indeed, a small bit of good news, but it is not the whole story.
Justice said it is “incredibly heartening to see that we are finally starting to make some incredible strides in our fight against the terrible drug crisis that continues to hurt the people of our state and the entire nation.”
What the governor views as “incredible strides” may actually be a change in drug-users’ behavior that leaves us no less in the grip of a ruthless substance abuse epidemic. Indeed, fewer people are dying from opioid overdoses — 6.4% fewer, in fact.
But 40% more are perishing from methamphetamine overdoses. This is no longer an opioid crisis — it hasn’t been for a couple of years now. It is a substance abuse crisis. …