There's something horrible going on in West Virginia. The state's opioid crisis has devolved into an epidemic, where nearly 800 million painkillers have poured inside state borders like a flood over the past six years and in the worst areas the overdose rate is nearly five times the national average.
There are plenty of adjectives to describe the situation, but the overwhelming one that comes to mind is sad. It's just sad.
After watching family after family get ripped apart to painkillers, the high school coaches in West Virginia are fighting back.
Yahoo's Eric Adelson has a wonderful report on how these coaches have turned themselves into weapons in this war, and I won't spoil it here but this passage is a great example of the yeoman's work they're putting in:
This is why when Chad “Street” Sarrett took over as head football coach at Woodrow Wilson, he knew success would not be measured on the field.
Sarrett has spent more time studying his players than any game film. He looks to see which kids might need laundry done, or need a ride, or need a meal. He walks around the lunchroom and notices which students stuff food into napkins and pockets on Fridays.
“This may be the last meal they eat before Monday,” he says.
He once took a student out to a local chain restaurant and was saddened to see the teen’s confusion as to why someone was coming over to ask what he wanted and then brought it to him. The student hadn’t been to that kind of restaurant before. Another time he went to visit a student’s house and noticed immediately how cold it was inside. The heat had been turned off.
“You build a relationship,” he explains, “because coming to school might be the best part of a kid’s day.”