Don’t make Obama’s visit about coal, focus on the bigger problem

Wednesday is a big day for West Virginia. The state has been battling a serious drug problem for a long time and President Barack Obama has planned a visit to the Roosevelt Neighborhood Center in Charleston to help us strategize a way to deal with drugs and drug related issues.

However, some residents can’t get over their dislike of our current United States president long enough to recognize what a wonderful opportunity this is for us as a state.

The coal industry is failing, but it was going down with or without Obama and trying to blame him for our problems when he’s here to help us fix them isn’t going to get us anywhere.

The coal industry is definitely something we, as a state, need to address, but Obama’s visit isn’t the time or the place for it. It could be that all the West Virginians declaring on Facebook they are going to protest the president’s visit Wednesday are just a lot of talk and no action, but in the event anyone actually thinks that’s a good line of action to pursue, they should know how utterly ridiculous it really is.

Coal is huge and affects a lot of people, but does it really trump the fact that West Virginia’s heroin overdose deaths are nearly triple the national average of 13.4 deaths per 100,000 people. The Washington Times reported in June there were about 34 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 West Virginia residents from 2011-13. That’s insane.

That doesn’t even include the number of non-fatal overdoses, averaging 600 per year in West Virginia.

We need to do something about those numbers. Drugs aren’t the only thing killing West Virginia residents, but obviously we have a drug problem and coal has always been more of a problem than a solution, so let’s put it on the backburner and focus on the issue at hand.

Wednesday is the beginning of our opportunity to combat this drug problem, so be advised that is the priority — over coal, over personal dislike of the president, over disagreements on EPA regulations — the issue we are addressing Wednesday is our drug problem. If you don’t want to be part of that specific, constructive discussion, stay at home.