New Strategy: Cohesive plan needed to fight substance abuse

Global conflicts such as World Wars I and II demonstrated that defeating a powerful foe requires not just an alliance, but a coordinated one. We West Virginians are battling a great evil now — and at least, it appears an integrated approach is on the horizon.

Last week, three state agencies released the framework of a plan to battle substance abuse in our state.

“It reflects what has gone on in the past, but also gives us a strong road map for the next three years,” commented Robert Hansen, director of the state Office of Drug Control Policy.

The devil is in the details, of course. Whether the new strategy will be effective remains to be seen. It is available online at dhhr.wv.gov/office-of-drug-control-policy/.

Adopting a cohesive plan to combat drug addiction is an important step. Understanding what has left the Mountain State so vulnerable to the abuse of escapist substances — tobacco and alcohol come to mind, too — is another.

But it is good to see a strategy that replaces a hodge-podge of other initiatives from various local and state entities — all aimed at achieving a common goal but lacking any central theme.

Though some progress has been made in battling substance abuse, West Virginia continues to suffer from the worst drug overdose death rate in the nation. Getting our act together to prevail is an absolute necessity.