Drug offenses of any kind can be incredibly detrimental to an individual’s life — not only in the current-tense, but in the future, as well. When it comes to illegal possession of prescription drug offenses in West Virginia, lawmakers are reconsidering the once-widespread availability of opioids, turning to preventative measures in attempts of putting a halt to the state’s drug epidemic. This tracing back to the initial acquiring of prescription drugs can potentially help those in need of addiction recovery. 

The opioid epidemic is no stranger to the state of West Virginia. The New Yorker recently acknowledged the issue, noting that the state has the highest overdose death rate in the country. Although this fact, as well as the crisis overall, are now largely ingrained in the nation’s psyche, the actual cause is complex and underreported. The New Yorker adds that many residents in areas with particularly high rates of addiction and overdoses have come to identify the issue as a disease, but others dismiss this empathetic view. Other factors of the epidemic to consider, especially in the state, are frequent accounts of physical pain due to mining, higher rates of poverty and joblessness.  

NBC News also reported on West Virginia’s changing attitudes regarding the opioid epidemic, especially in the ways the legal system views opioid drug charges. This past May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced plans to encourage drug education and dismiss Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” slogan of the past, deeming the anti-drug advertising as ineffective. And despite Sessions’s opposition to the legalizing of marijuana, scientists are currently exploring routes of using medical marijuana as a possible weapon against opioid addiction. As mixed views on the ways the legal system should work to solve the opioid crisis are apparent, the popular consensus on the issue is that the state must first look at the epidemic’s root causes and foundations before reaching a solution.