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We are in a war against drug use

I am writing in response to the article titled “In a War” that was published in The Inter-Mountain on Nov. 21. As someone who grew up in Elkins, it seemed as though the town I left to go to college was completely different than the one in which I was born.

The rate of drug overdoses in West Virginia doubled from 2010 to 2017. In 2017, this rate was three times than the national average. Epidemic is a perfect word to describe the situation.

A huge contributor to this is opioid pain relievers. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2017 in West Virginia, 81.3 opioid prescriptions was written for every 100 persons. The national average rate is 58.7 prescriptions for every 100 persons. Furthermore, while the number of opioid prescriptions has been decreasing for the past decade, the number of overdoses from opioid prescriptions has leveled out.

This is all to say that I agree with the urgent tone of the article to find new ways to handle such a spike in overdoses. I am glad that WVU and Marshall are getting involved in the search. The current methods are admirable but simply not enough. More training for law enforcement officials on how to respond to someone who is overdosing. Additionally, access to Narcan should be more widespread. Finally, the inclusion of college students with fresh ideas and methods should be a welcome change.

Susan Akers

Elkins