Drug abuse is indeed a war in our country

Ohioans have known for some time that substance abuse is a crisis tearing at the fabric of our state’s future.

Ohio is second in the entire nation for having the highest illicit overdose death rate at 39.1 per 100,000 residents. West Virginia has the highest — 52 per 100,000 residents in 2016, the most recent year covered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

On Friday, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration released a truly shocking statistic: Drug overdose deaths set a new record last year. More than 72,000 Americans took fatal overdoses. Some were in our own area. Just ask the coroners, EMTs and local funeral directors.

We have made this point previously, but it bears repeating: During the Vietnam War, which lasted more than a decade, the total fatality count for U.S. military personnel was 52,220, according to the Defense Department.

Drug pushers are killing more Americans — far more — each year than perished in the Vietnam War.

So, is this a war?

Count the tombstones.