CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced his office will kick off its “Opioid Abuse Prevention Game of the Week” initiative for a third consecutive year. The effort has yielded immense success since its inception engaging with teams and communities at more than 100 high school football games across the state.
Throughout each week, the initiative engages with student athletes, coaches, school officials and communities across West Virginia. Field representatives discuss the dangers of opioid use with the respective coaches and provide educational material for display and distribution in the schools to foster more discussion of the issue.
The week culminates with the Attorney General’s Office staffing an information booth at each of the select sporting events to distribute opioid abuse awareness materials.
“The opioid epidemic has changed the way West Virginia’s youth grow up, in some cases contributing to chaotic home lives and leaving children without parents,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “We cannot and will not sit idly by and allow this crisis to further impact our people. We can secure a better future for everyone by raising awareness and sharing crucial information about the negative impact of drug abuse.”
The 2018 initiative kicks off with games featuring Man vs. Logan, Midland Trail vs. Independence, Wayne vs. Spring Valley, Oak Glen vs. Weir, Hundred vs. Clay-Battelle and Washington vs. Hedgesville.
The initiative is part of a broader partnership to tackle opioid use in high school athletics. It involves the Attorney General’s Office, West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission and the West Virginia Board of Medicine.
“Drug abuse has a crippling effect in communities across our state,” said Bernie Dolan, executive director of the WVSSAC. “The WVSSAC is proud to be a partner with the Attorney General’s Office to continually combat drug abuse throughout the state. Participation in extra-curricular activities is a great way to stay drug free.”
Opioid painkillers may temporarily relieve pain, but do nothing to address the underlying injury and can have serious side effects. The medication also carries striking similarities to heroin.
The Attorney General and his partners worry the unnecessary usage of opioid painkillers to treat athletic injuries could lead to increased dependence, abuse and addiction.
Parents and caregivers are urged to discuss alternative treatment plans with their child’s healthcare provider. Such alternatives include physical, occupational and massage therapy, along with chiropractic medicine, acupuncture and over-the-counter medications.
If an opioid proves necessary, parents and caregivers are encouraged to strictly use the medication as directed, closely monitor their child’s use, safely dispose of any unused pills and talk about the inherent dangers of misuse, abuse and sharing.