An Endless Battle Manchin to address

For thousands of years, mankind has battled one another in wars and skirmishes over everything from religious freedom to oil-rich land. One war even was incited by the killing of a pig.

All told, those many battles have accounted for millions of causalities and billions of lost or ill-spent dollars.

Although war can be viewed as inevitable as the patchwork of people that make up the world’s population struggling to interweave their varied cultures, some battles seem to transcend time, heritage and ethnicity.

The War on Drugs, which has raged for decades, is one such clash.

Here in our communities, barely a day passes that doesn’t yield drug arrests or see drug-related cases clog up our already overburdened judicial system.

For years, the drug of choice for many was marijuana or other, less addicting, substances. As time has passed, though, harder and more insidious drugs have seeped into the small cities and towns that dot central West Virginia. From cocaine and heroin to methamphetamine and prescription medicine, nearly all the drug world’s ills now can be found in our area.

To combat the spread of this plague, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., has pledged to do everything in his power to stifle this ever-growing problem.

Manchin recently told The Inter-Mountain that he plans on introducing legislation that will elevate hydrocodone from a Level 2 narcotic to a Level 3 drug.

The change would not only make hydrocodone much more difficult to prescribe, but it would put restrictions in place for those filling said medications.

Manchin said hydrocodone is one of the most overprescribed medications in West Virginia.

“We need to have a culture change here in West Virginia,” Manchin said. “It is affecting the health of our workforce. It’s even making it difficult for employers to hire qualified workers that are drug free. We need to get everyone behind this and everyone fighting the War on Drugs.”

We couldn’t agree more with Sen. Manchin. This problem must be dealt with head-on and in the most expeditious manner possible. The senator’s legislative plan, though, is just the first of many steps in our state’s – and nation’s – campaign against not only illegal drugs but also prescription abuse as well.

We must continue the fight against all the illegal drugs that have seemingly taken a firm grasp upon each and every one of our communities.

Not only does our future economic success depend on the eradication of this epidemic, but the future of our children also hinges on the outcome of this all-important war.

With new legislation, an ever-vigilant watchful eye from law enforcement and quality and affordable drug treatment programs, this is a crusade we ultimately can win.

Only then will the senseless casualties cease.