Rahall, speaking to reporter Erica Martinson for a series on how national policy issues are affecting 2014 midterm elections, said substance abuse is a big reason coal miners can't find jobs in Southern West Virginia."Times are tough," he told Martinson. "People turn to drugs — no question about it. Our coal companies can't hire coal miners because they can't pass a drug test."Since the article was published Thursday morning, Rahall's Republican opponent, state Sen. Evan Jenkins, and other conservative groups such as Americans for Prosperity issued statements calling Rahall's comments "absurd," "wrong" and "deeply offensive.""As someone who screens and drug tests hundreds and hundreds of coal miners for potential employment in the mines, I can tell you that Nick Rahall's comments are totally wrong and deeply offensive to the miners with whom I work," Mike Grose of Elite Coal Services said in a statement issued by the Jenkins campaign.
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