Drug crisis is a true war

We in West Virginia and Ohio have known for some time that substance abuse is a crisis tearing at the fabric of our states’ futures.

West Virginia has the highest illicit drug overdose death rate in the nation (52 per 100,000 residents in 2016, the most recent year covered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Ohio is No. 2, at 39.1 per 100,000 residents.

On Friday, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration released a truly shocking statistic: Drug overdose deaths set a new record last year. More than 72,000 Americans took fatal overdoses.

We have made this point previously, but it bears repeating: During the Vietnam War, which lasted more than a decade, the total fatality count for U.S. military personnel was 52,220, according to the Defense Department.

Drug pushers are killing more Americans — far more — each year than perished in the Vietnam War.

So, is this a war?

Count the tombstones.