"North Dakota's economy posted a 13.4 percent growth rate in 2012, according to a report released Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis," CNN reported.
"That's nearly three times as fast as the number two state, Texas, and trounces the national average of 2.5 percent."
West Virginia's growth rate is a respectable 3.3 percent, but that does not make up for decades of slow or negative growth.
As laudable as the state's fight against drug abuse is, the long-term answer is a better economy that offers an alternative to drugs that is spelled J-O-B-S.
The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce has outlined "A Design For Prosperity," which would remove the artificial barriers to business in a state with so many natural barriers.
Lawmakers can enact a competitive and sustainable tax system, improve its legal climate and improve its infrastructure, schools and quality of life.
West Virginia has good programs in place, which the state should continue.
But to pay for those programs and to reduce their use, lawmakers need to create a climate where businesses prosper in West Virginia, and people are too busy with their lives to turn to drugs.