West Virginia Calls in National Guard to Help Tackle Opioid Crisis

People expect to see the Army National Guard during disasters.

In Huntington, W.V., the guard has been called in to help tackle the opioid crisis – which the governor has called a disaster.

“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 America – 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.”

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.

But its primary role is technical and analytical support.

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SOURCE: Fox News, Rick Leventhal