Experts: W.Va. must curb drugs to stop child abuse
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Children are dying from abuse and neglect at a higher rate in West Virginia than any other state, a problem that judges, social workers and others say is fueled by rampant substance abuse and likely to grow unless lawmakers get serious about finding and paying for solutions.
Without a sufficient statewide safety net of suitable foster care, adoptive families, in-home services and community-based prevention and treatment programs for addicted parents and their children, abuse victims are all too likely to repeat what they have learned.
"We are headed for a whole generation of lost souls," worries Nicholas County Circuit Judge Gary Johnson, who says nearly 90 percent of the child-welfare cases he hears involve substance abuse. "We don't address it until we address the drug issue."
The Justice Center at the nonpartisan Council of State Governments says West Virginians are more likely to die from drug overdoses than residents of any other state, and one in 10 adults has a substance abuse problem.
Child abuse in WV is epidemic. "For every child that you know about that has something horrible happen to them, there are about 150 kids right behind that child whose name you will never know, whose case you will never see and whose face never made it beyond the funeral home" I grew up in southern West Virginia and I along with the majority of kids lived with the kind of abuse mentioned in the article. Drug abuse, incest, neglect and violence are very prevalent in the poor communities that have been forgotten. All the jobs are gone and are never coming back. I honestly don't think we have what it takes to change it. There's not enough empathy and too many conservative psychopaths for WV to enact the extreme drastic change it needs to undo the damage done. I highly recommend Chris Hedges new book Days of Destruction Days of Revolt which covers southern West Virginia and other "disaster zones".