In times of severe and unending crisis, the individual states that make up our grand union may need to call in the cavalry to right the ship. Often, that cavalry arrives in the form of the National Guard.
These military members, who often receive cordial ribbing from other branches of our armed services, have been used almost exclusively in the homeland over the course of recent years. These highly skilled citizen soldiers find themselves traveling across the nation, often assisting with disaster rescue and cleanup, working hand in hand with groups such as the Coast Guard in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and other natural, yet unstoppable, tragedies.
Heck, there have been times that snow has compelled the Guard to be deployed in order to open shipping and travel routes, help restore power, and provide assistance for those in need.
In other words, the National Guard is a resource like no other in America, and their involvement with any situation is not to be taken lightly.
Now, as West Virginia grapples with one of the most heinous rates of opioid addiction in the nation, the Guard has once again been deployed, this time to The Mountain State.
“’We have to stop this terrible drug epidemic,’ West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said. ‘We have to. If we don’t, it will cannibalize us.’“Huntington has been called the overdose capital of American – with double the national average of overdoses, due in part to the decline of the coal industry, a lack of jobs and the easy availability of the drugs. And law enforcement is stretched thin.
“’I don’t think there is a police department in America that has all the resources they need,’ Huntington Police Chief Hank Dial said. ‘It is a complex problem and it needed a complex solution.'”
So, what exactly are these Guardsmen and Women doing in West Virginia to assist? Well, for one, they are keeping an eye on local PD’s six.
“The guard is flying its Lakota helicopters on reconnaissance missions in coordination with local police, providing eyes in the sky during busts and while serving warrants.”
Others are showcasing their technical prowess.
“Guardsman, who asked not to be identified, are manning hotlines and working on computers inside Huntington Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, helping track down dealers and drug networks so cops can focus on the street.”
“On Wednesday, the guard answered a call that led to the bust of an alleged dealer and the recovery of 430 grams of fentanyl, far more powerful than heroin, with a street value of $86,000.”
Another tactic in the war on opioids could come from an unlikely place: Marijuana.
Studies in Colorado and other legal locales show a strong and clear correlation between recreational cannabis availability and a diminishing rate of opioid addiction. This is all in spite of, or perhaps despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ archaic and draconian views on the subject.