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Tragedy

Tragedy

Drug abuse was killing West Virginians by the hundreds long before COVID-19 hit. It will remain a killer long after the virus has been beaten.

A tragedy on July 11 reminded us all of the terrible hold addictive substances can have on people. Last week, a woman from Chester, in the very tip of the Northern Panhandle, pleaded guilty to child neglect resulting in death because of what happened that day at a house in another community.

While in a drug-induced haze that day, the woman passed out on a bed. At some point, she rolled over on top of her 3-month-old baby, injuring the infant fatally.

The day after that, with her child dying in a hospital, the woman called a supplier seeking to buy more drugs.

This is just one drug abuse horror story. There are many others.

If you suspect someone you know has a drug problem, do all you can to persuade that person to get help — before substance abuse takes another life.

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State higher education officials have approved a plan whereby some public college students working toward degrees in education will be able to get credit for required student teaching by serving as substitutes in West Virginia schools.

Some counties are having trouble staffing schools because most of the people on their substitute teacher lists are older men and women, often retired educators, who are at high risk for COVID-19. But substitutes are a necessity simply in order to keep some schools open.

State officials have agreed to a framework by which some college students can serve as substitutes. Officials and professors at the individual colleges and universities should follow through by removing any potential obstacles to such service, including coursework the student teachers may miss while substituting.

West Virginians need help from the teachers-in-training now. Ensuring they can provide it ought to be viewed as a priority.

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