A shotgun approach to battling some social problems may be appropriate, at least until more is known about what works and what does not. But drug abuse is not new, and West Virginia cannot afford to simply throw money at reducing it in the hope some of the funding will help.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin appears to have recognized that in using his line-item veto authority over the state budget. Last Friday, he rejected $13.5 million in spending in the $11.6 billion document approved earlier this month by legislators.
Among Tomblin's vetoes was one involving state funding for the "One Voice" drug abuse program. It had been slated to receive $350,000. Tomblin cut that to $100,000.
One Voice is a faith-based program in Wyoming County, providing help to drug addicts trying to kick their habits as well as to their children. This is the first year the organization has been slated to receive any public money.
In many ways, One Voice's mission sounds appealing. For example, part of its work is ensuring children of drug addicts have food during weekends when they cannot partake of school breakfasts and lunches.
But Tomblin is on the right track in desiring to ensure that state-funded programs to fight drug abuse produce results. He did not close the door entirely on One Voice; he said in his veto message the program ought to be considered by the Governor's Advisory Committee on Substance Abuse.
Even more questions about drug abuse programs should be asked. There are scores of them, both public and private, throughout the state. An Internet search for "drug treatment programs in West Virginia" nets 70 references.
Some initiatives, such as the judicial system's drug court program, appear to be worthwhile. But again, a variety of approaches are being taken in the public and private sectors.
What really works? What merely spends the public's money? Tomblin is right to ask those questions. Doing so should be the top priority of his advisory council.