This week was an extremely big eye opener for me on how drugs are used so heavily in the region. Specifically pain killers. It became very apparent that these kinds of drugs are very easy to obtain in the region specifically West Virginia. Drugs like Codeine originally became very popular in the region due to the fact that most of the jobs have to do with heavy physical labor. So naturally that hurts a persons body over time and they need some kind of medication so they can get through the day.
picture of pain killers taken from: https://harborvillageflorida.com/codeine-addiction-treatment/
It didn’t take long for the use of pain killers to spread and then many people of the region got heavily addicted to the product. The big drug firms then started to pay off the doctors getting them to prescribe the drugs to just about anybody who would walk in the door. After this happened the pain killers really began sweeping through the region and it ended up destroying so many peoples lives in the process.
A lot of people place the blame on the doctors and the drug companies. However, a lot of people disagree and think that people make their own decisions therefore it is the people taking the drugs fault. So that leaves us with the question, “Whose fault is the pain killer epidemic? The Doctors? The drug corporations? The actual residents?”
If I had 40 million dollars to invest in a place, in Appalachia, it would be southern West Virginia. I have seen how rough things have been over that way since the coal industry has all but disappeared, which left tons of people without jobs. So if I had that kind of money I would probably build some kind of massive resort like the Greenbrier or something along those lines.
image taken from: http://www.gvairport.com/greenbrier-valley-area-info/attractions/the-greenbrier
West Virginia is a beautiful part of the country, there is an endless amount of attractions you could have at a resort. You could have activities that stretch from golfing to snowboarding and everything in between. A resort would have an absolutely huge impact on a community. The job opportunities would be endless for people in the region. Not only would the resort do well but it would bring in so many other people so other businesses would also thrive.
I would also use the money to set up scholarship funds for kids of the region. That way if they worked hard they would have hope of going to college and making a better life for there self.
While reading Internal Colonization it was extremely evident that immigration became a huge part of Appalachia. Internal Colonization says, “Individuals and families migrated to the coal counties from the nearby farm counties of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee.”
The main reason this sticks out to me so much is because there was a time in America where people believed that you shouldn’t take hand outs from anyone and you should earn your own money. The attitude back then was basically if you don’t work then you don’t eat, and that is what made America and especially Appalachia the toughest place in the world. People were leaving there home states, mainly because they had been displaced, to work in what probably was the worst working conditions in the country. And they did all this just to feed their family. I envy the toughness and work ethic all the immigrants into the coal mines had.
Above is a picture of what tough men look like. Picture taken from: https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=coal+miners&view=detailv2&&id=6314171087495950BF62465A6D034A9B207D10CE&selectedIndex=0&ccid=aZM%2fEg8C&simid=607997203686295785&thid=OIP.M69933f120f023bd6a223209d9fc0863dH0&ajaxhist=0
Now a days in America it seems like when the going gets tough people start wallowing in self pity and start looking to the government with their hand out. We need to get back to the way America was before, when people had enough pride in their family names to provide for themselves.
So what happened in history that turned this country from people migrating different places to work, to now not even looking for jobs?