Finding Hope in West Virginia , Sports, Jobs – The Intelligencer


Those responsible for the start of the substance abuse epidemic that still plagues West Virginia continue to come to justice. Five doctors violated their oath to do no harm and recently pleaded guilty to various charges relating to their time at the Hope Clinic, which had offices in Beckley, Beaver, and Charleston, W.Va., and in Wytheville, Va.

William Earley, 66, of North Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Brian Gullett, 45, of Clarksville, Pa.; Roswell Tempest Lowry, 88, of Efland, N.C.; and Vernon Stanley, 79, of Fayetteville, W.Va. pleaded guilty in federal court to felony counts of aiding and abetting obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Mark Clarkson, 64, of Princeton, W.Va., pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of aiding and abetting the misbranding of a drug involved in interstate commerce.

We all know how they got the job done, by now. These folks wrote prescriptions to as many as 65 customers per day. Oxycodone and other controlled substances were churned out with no legitimate medical purpose from 2010 to 2015.

It is good to know they await their punishment.

But as the wheels of justice slowly turn, in the form of lawsuits and criminal convictions, what are we as a state doing to address the underlying causes of the continued substance abuse epidemic? Law enforcement and prosecutors are doing their work. What are lawmakers doing?

There is a clue in the name used for the clinic for which these people peddled their wares. Hope.

Too many in West Virginia still have none.

If we are truly to stop this scourge on our state, we have to be honest with ourselves. Only then will we have hope.

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