AP / Toby Talbot

Last week, we reported on the heroin-and-opioids crisis in the U.S. jobs market — a lot of skilled positions are going unfilled because a lot of people can't pass a drug test required for this work — and about a new trend in which Americans have stopped moving to find work. The posts generated many more than the usual number of letters, not a few which were powerful. We asked some of these readers whether we could reprint part of their letters.

Robert Legge, Etlan, Va.: Our drug war has only made things worse. People who have never hurt anyone but are convicted of drug possession are given a felony so they can't get SNAP, college loans, job that requires a state license, [and they have] difficulty finding housing ..., all things that often contribute to loss of relationships. They may see selling drugs as their only viable way to survive. And their drug using/selling friends will still be their friends when few else will.

Chris in Colorado: I'd sooner say, "Our employment situation is needlessly worsened by benighted and indefensible drug policies" than, "Employers can't find qualified workers because everybody is on drugs."

Walt Kotuba, Youngstown, Ohio: I can't find a job to save my life. I have a very rare neuromuscular disease that I was diagnosed with almost three years ago. I have a college degree and almost 20 years experience in environmental and health and safety. I've trained over 100 people. I could've worked from home. I could've done many different jobs. Now, I'm pretty much blackballed. Employers don't want any problems from anyone. Heck. I even was told I wasn't qualified to hand out towels and check in people at the local Air Force base. I took so much pride in my work. Now, I could care less. I've totally given up.

Elliott Cole, Montana: I am a paramedic and National Guard flight paramedic. And I have never once met a drug addict who was upset about the drugs being too potent. ... Heroin addicts are so testy when given the reversal agent (Naloxone) that they will fight you. Being brought out of that high that they paid good money for makes you their enemy. I usually give them just enough naloxone to keep respiratory drive intact but stop short of a full reversal of the high. I let the doctors deal with that nightmare.

Karen Porter, Orange County, NC: Our country and economy simply offer no support for different "tribes" locked in places that appear hopeless — at least those societal prisons offer friends and family if nothing else. Sad state of affairs. Doesn't matter if it's the inner city or the midwestern farms or the rust belt cities or the Appalachian hills. It's too scary to move now, Move where? Why? How? For how long? With what support? Sad answers to all of this. Yet I never see this addressed anywhere in the articles full of statistics.

Go deeper

Florida fully lifts coronavirus restrictions on restaurants

Photo: Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Friday the state will completely reopen its economy, allowing restaurants at operate full capacity and barring localities from ordering businesses to close.

Why it matters: The state became one of the world's epicenters for the virus in July, forcing DeSantis to pause its first round of reopening.

2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Eyeing the end of gas-powered cars

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Gasoline-powered cars may be going the way of the woolly mammoth, even if it will take decades to replace them and seems hard to fathom today.

The big picture: Internal combustion engines (ICEs) have powered automobiles for more than 100 years. But the shift to electric vehicles, slow to materialize at first, is now accelerating due to tightening government policies, falling costs and a societal reckoning about climate change.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and his wife, Pamela, both tested positive for coronavirus, his office announced on Friday.

The state of play: The Northams were tested after one of their staff "who works closely within the couple's living quarters" tested positive. The governor is asymptomatic, while his wife is "experiencing mild symptoms." They plan to isolate at home for 10 days.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!