Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To those working as part of the Appalachian Region Prescription Opioid strike force, who were again able to take off the streets a significant number of contributors to the substance abuse epidemic in our region. The 13 arrests –including one right here in Vienna — were for alleged offenses relating to the overprescription of controlled substances through “pill mill” clinics, according to the U.S. Justice Department. It is a sad reminder that, while the plague has evolved and now includes many more substances than the one that sparked it, there are still those willing to cash in on the suffering of others while hiding behind a mask of legitimacy.

UP: To introduction of a bill that tells the Appalachian Regional Commission to provide technical assistance, provide grants or enter into contracts for research into the economic impact of an ethane storage hub in Appalachia (Tyler County would be a nice spot), and help establish the hub and associated pipelines. It is a shame Congress has to direct the ARC to do something that seems so obviously to fit its mission to work “with the people of Appalachia to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life.” Here’s hoping the extra nudge will do some good.

UP: To another Federal Emergency Management Agency grant for the Elizabeth Volunteer Fire Department, which will purchase 16 new air packs and face pieces — allowing each volunteer to have one. The additions will nearly double the amount of time firefighters have quality air to breathe from what is available in the packs currently in use.