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Drug trade affects us all

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    Our state's natural gas industry is growing in amazing ways. Just this week, it was announced that Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas Co. and AGL Resources are proposing a $5 billion natural gas pipeline to connect the Southeast with natural gas supplies from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
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    As our state's business leaders gather at The Greenbrier this week for the 2014 West Virginia Business Summit, we hope they have a sense of urgency and realize what they must do to bring this state into the 21st century.

On the Aug. 11 edition of the State Journal's Decision Makers, we heard from those affected by the brutal killings of four people in Clarksburg late last month. Investigators say the shooting was directly related to the city's growing drug trade. Among those caught in the crossfire were Fred and Fred Swiger — a father and son delivering newspapers for the Exponent Telegram who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. What we learned on Sunday's show is that our state's drug trade does not just affect those who use and deal. It affects the entire community. We heard from an elderly woman who barricades herself in her home. We heard from a mother who will not allow her children to play in the front yard. We heard from police officers who are doing all they can but are still overwhelmed.

As a state, we are better than this. These are stories for Detroit and Chicago and St. Louis, not for Charleston or Wheeling or Clarksburg or Beckley. However, we cannot address this situation if we refuse to acknowledge the truth. The drug trade is here, it's taking hold and, if we're going to take back our communities, we need stand up and say with one voice "no more."