CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has announced a Rosemont Elementary School student as the statewide winner of the Kids Kick Opioids contest, a competition designed to spur creativity and raise awareness of prescription painkiller abuse.
Jacey Rose Chalmers, of Martinsburg, was selected as the statewide winner from among entries submitted by more than 2,000 students across West Virginia. The winning entry included a picture of her and her father taken one week before he died from a drug overdose.
The third-grader’s handwritten account states, “I miss my daddy. I want to hug and kiss him every day. It is very sad when kids don’t have their daddy to play with now. I still cry when I think about my daddy. xo”
The picture and handwritten account will soon appear in newspapers across West Virginia as the Attorney General’s next public service announcement.
“Congratulations to Jacey and each of our regional winners,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Jacey’s heart wrenching story captures the devastating impact of opioid addiction. Hopefully, Jacey’s openness to share her story helps other children not live through the same tragedy.”
Judges recognized brothers David and Gabe Urso, fifth-grade students at St. Mary’s Grade School in Clarksburg, and Gianna Muto, a seventh-grade student at Hurricane Middle School, as statewide runners-up. Their designs will appear with Chalmers’ on the Attorney General’s website.
The statewide runners-up were among 36 students recognized as regional winners announced Monday. Each of their designs will be displayed at the State Capitol. See a full list of winners at www.wvago.gov.
The Attorney General received 1,921 entries from 2,212 students at 71 middle and elementary schools across West Virginia. The submissions included a mix of drawings, poems and other designs aimed at promoting awareness.
Kids Kick Opioids represents one initiative through which the Attorney General has sought to combat West Virginia’s drug overdose death rate — the nation’s highest. Others include criminal prosecutions, increased funding, education, civil litigation, multi-state initiatives, new technology, engagement with the faith-based community and a best practices toolkit endorsed by more than 25 national and state stakeholders.
The West Virginia State Medical Association, West Virginia Association of School Nurses and the Capitol Police assisted the Attorney General in judging the public service announcement contest.