A Glimmer of Light in West Virginia’s Dark and Dusty Opioid Crisis

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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6 Responses

  1. Chip Daniels says:

    Whenever you write about the problems faced by West Virginia- things like substance abuse, economic disinvestment, bigotry and exclusion- I think of my neighborhood here in the inner city of Los Angeles.

    The two troubled areas are different, in the way that different troubled families are, but there are enough similarities.

    And both show the promise of enlarging our imaginations, from a place where the immediate response to any problem is more police, more prison, more brutality and force to a place where force is a last resort, only after alternatives like treatment and counseling and improving economic opportunities are attempted.Report

  2. North says:

    One thing that snapped my head around was this chart. The devastation in Appalachia is stunning. What also drew my eye was the strange reverse opioid vacuum in the west-midwest centered on the Twin Cities in MN and stretching out into Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas. What the heck is that? Frakking jobs and MN’s corporate economy and Iowan potatoes?Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to North says:

      Shortly before I graduated from high school in Nebraska, I had to write an essay answer to an odd question. I don’t remember the exact question, or situation, but do remember the flavor of my answer. Basically, “You have to have been an incurable optimist to settle on the High Plains and stay. You plant the crop. If it survives any of late frost, drought, monsoon hail storms, or early freeze, you have a decent harvest. If enough of the pregnant cows survive the -25 °F cold snap, or five feet of snow with 40 knot winds driving it, you have calves that can be sold at a profit.” Broadly speaking, no one new has moved into the rural areas since before 1930. Anyone who wasn’t an incurable optimist left. A bunch of the descendants of that rural group have moved to the bordering cities. There is, I claim, a genetic and/or cultural tendency towards “You. Can’t. Break. Me.” Opioids are what happens after you’ve been broken.Report