West Virginia leads the nation once again, this time with the highest drug overdose death rate, according to the Trust for America's Health.
The state suffered a sevenfold increase in drug overdose deaths in 12 years.
In 1999, there were 4.1 drug overdose deaths for every 100,000 people, which was on par with a homicide rate of 4.4.
By 2010, the drug overdose death rate soared to 28.9, while homicides fell to 3.1 homicides per 100,000 people.
"People in rural communities are about twice as likely to die from a prescription drug overdose as those living in urban areas," Rich Hamburg of the trust said.
That may be true, but as long as North Dakota has the nation's lowest drug overdose death rate, living in the boondocks is an excuse, not an explanation.
This waste of lives comes despite the best efforts of many good people. The Trust for America's Health praised West Virginia for eight of the trust's 10 recommendations.
The programs are there. What is missing is economic opportunity. North Dakota has the fastest-growing economy in the land.