The Appalachian Region of America is defined by the Appalachian Mountain range cutting through the South East to the North-East portion of the country. Historically, the region has been isolated due to its geography, creating a tight-knit and self-sufficient community. In the past century, we have seen a rollercoaster of economic growth and economic distress in the region.
The past three decades have shown that most of the central part of the region is disproportionately economically disadvantaged and declining from the rest of the United States. The 1990s brought a new burden to the community with the introduction of opioid prescriptions. There has been a steady growth of opioid-related tragic deaths in America since 2001 but in Appalachia, the percentage of death per capita has always been double the amount of any other region.
In 2010, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reacted to the high demand for prescription opioids by implementing various national efforts to restrict use and dosages. As access to legal forms of the drug became more difficult, however, the demand for opioids continued to grow and shifted to more potent, illegal opioids like heroin, fentanyl, and other synthetic substances.
The Appalachian Resource Coalition (ARC) attributes this tragic and disproportionate issue to the lack of economic diversity in the region. ARC and The National Association of Counties outlined several ways to combat this issue:
Compassionate community leadership.
Create and foster preventative and educational incentives.
Expand treatment options.
Mitigate local economic impacts and consider new economic development strategies.
We know we cannot rewrite history but we do know that our future is defined by how we live today. Today we are striving to be a part of the positive change in Central Appalachia by donating 10% of our profits to support rehabilitation programs and educational opportunities in the region. To hire based on the task at hand, not anyone’s past while offering resources for our employees to achieve their personal, educational, and career goals.