Battling abuse is a daunting task

Deaths from drug overdoses tend to be the headlines regarding the scourge of substance abuse that continues to sweep West Virginia, Ohio and many other states. But the damage goes much deeper, as was pointed out last week during a meeting of the Brooke County Faith Team, which is attempting to fight back.

In attendance was West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who has led the fight in our state against one major contributor to the drug crisis: pharmaceuticals manufacturers and distributors who have created so much pain by irresponsibly flooding our state with “painkiller” opioid pills.

But there is much more to winning this war.

Morrisey has encouraged a faith-based approach to helping victims of substance abuse, and that is wise, for one reason pointed out during last week’s meeting. As faith team member Christina White pointed out, health care treatment for drug addicts is only the beginning of a lifelong duel with substance dependence.

“If lucky (addicts) may find a (treatment) facility for 30 days and receive a follow-up call,” White said. Then, “They are just back in the world…”

Just as is the case with alcoholism, those addicted to other drugs have a far greater chance of kicking the habit successfully if they have support networks. That is one thing in which faith-based groups can excel.

Both our states need more of them.

Another need pointed out during the meeting is opportunities for young people to avoid the drug culture. You and community leaders may want to think about that the next time you hear a teenager complain, “There’s nothing to do.”

Finally, Bethany Goddard, of Youth Services System, reminded those at the meeting that addicts themselves are not the only victims of drug abuse. Their families suffer, sometimes terribly, too. Resources need to be available to them, too.

It would be understandable if some of those knowledgeable about substance abuse threw up their hands in frustration at the many aspects of it — and the numerous needs in combating it. How on earth can we get all this done?

Somehow, ways to provide the enormous resources — not just in money — needed must be found. Good for groups such as the Brooke County Faith Team for doing what they can. They understand this is not a situation we can walk away from.