A column by Samantha Perry, editor of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — There is an unleashed fervor in their body movements — they are tightly wound, barely restrained and their eyes carry a gaze that borders on the line of madness. We see them in parking lots, on street corners and in the aisles of the local market. Sometimes they are asking for money, or use of a cellphone.
There is nowhere to run or hide from the drug abuse plague in southern West Virginia. It is not relegated to certain seedy neighborhoods or hidden in homes in low-socioeconomic zip codes. It is in the grocery store, on the sidewalk in front of the office and in the car zig-zagging across the yellow line on a commute to work.
In our work, we see the toll it takes on a daily basis. Stories and mugshots fill pages of newsprint. It’s not just the drug roundups that dominate headlines. Breaking and enterings, strong-arm robberies, police chases and more, they all lead back to a common root — hard-core addiction.
Junkies, “pillbillies,” dopers — whatever you call them, their actions generally revolve around two common threads, drugs and crime. They will lie, cheat, steal and more to get the cash needed for a fix. Once high, we can only pray they are passed out somewhere and not behind the wheel of a car. We’ve had those headlines, too…