Mike Pushkin: W.Va. paying heavy toll on addiction

November 23, 2013
by Mike Pushkin
Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette

People who ride in my cab at night usually know where they want to go but they don't always know the best way to get there. I ask two questions:

Where are you going?

Which way do you want to go?

"Here's the address," they say. "Take the shortest route," or, "whichever is easiest," or "go the cheapest way."

In 10 years on the job, I've learned the path you take not only determines how fast you get there, but the cost of the fare. I've learned the name of every street, and I've been witness to all that happens on the street as well.

Being a cab driver doesn't require one to wear a suit and tie to work, but I often find myself donning one to attend another funeral for one of my dead friends. It turns out my dead friends are part of the "per capita" group that helps secure West Virginia a top five position in the United States when it comes to the purchase and misuse of pain killers like OxyContin and Opana. I can't even count the funerals I've attended in the past 10 years.

Pushkin, a local musician and cab driver, is running for the House of Delegates in the 37th District. 

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