Battling the plague of drug abuse

Last week, local media outlets reported plans for the Sept. 15 observance in Wheeling of a statewide “Day of Hope” focusing on the substance abuse crisis.

On the same day, a grim report made it clear we can use all the hope we can muster.

Last year, 1,011 people died of drug overdoses in West Virginia, the state Health Statistics Center has disclosed. Of that total, 870 deaths were linked to opioid abuse. Most of the others involved other illicit substances, we suspect.

Overdose deaths in our state have been climbing steadily for several years. During 2016, the toll was 890 lives.

In all likelihood, our state will remain firmly in a No. 1 position no one wants: No other state has an overdose death rate even close to ours.

“Day of Hope” observances are aimed at calling public attention to preventing substance abuse and helping addicts recover. Faith-based organizations play a major role in both endeavors.

Everyone needs to get involved. If you have not recognized yet that drug abuse is no respecter of persons, get over your delusion. It strikes rich and poor, black and white, old and young, male and female.

Everyone is at risk. Drug abuse is a deadly plague in our state.

State and federal policy makers often think about priorities for the coming year. Here in West Virginia, can there be any doubt?