It’s like something out of a science fiction story – shadowy companies deliberately pumping the populace full of dangerous chemicals for its own gain. For many in West Virginia, this far-fetched scenario is a reality. A recent story by the Charleston Gazette-Mail reveals the lengths that drug companies will go to in order to target the most vulnerable in our society.

The numbers are shocking. A single pharmacy in Kermit, West Virginia (population 392) received 9 million hydrocodone pills over the course of two years. The state of West Virginia as a whole received 780 million opioid pills over the course of six years.

This influx of pills has lead to an influx of overdoses. West Virginia counties currently occupy the top four spots in prescription overdose deaths by county in the U.S. Ten of the 20 deadliest counties are all in West Virginia.

This failure to protect the people of West Virginia was systemic. Opioid wholesalers pushed their pills to pharmacists who sold them, doctors prescribed pills by the truckload and the state’s pharmaceutical board allowed it to happen.  

West Virginia is an example of how firmly entrenched we are in addiction. We have to stop pretending that addiction is a moral failing, a series of wrong choices made by screw ups. We must acknowledge that we live in a country that incentivizes misery and death, driving up profits at the expense of real people’s lives. That’s why we fight back in whatever way we can, by standing in solidarity with activists like our friends at Facing Addiction and by addressing the problem head on in the lives of our clients.

If you or a loved one are struggling with prescription drug or heroin addiction, get help. We offer a confidential hotline at (844) 206-9063 and our admissions team is available 24/7 online.

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