CHARLESTON —West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced his office will feature tonight’s Man vs. Point Pleasant gridiron matchup as an Opioid Abuse Prevention Game of the Week.
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.
“Alleviating the opioid scourge is vitally important to making our state the best it can be,” Morrisey said. “This epidemic has taken too many of our young people and left children without parents. As long as we work together, we will make a difference.”
The initiative, now in its second year, 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.
“Opioid abuse is a major problem in our state,” said James Higginbotham, Point Pleasant High School assistant principal. “We need to educate the people of the state on the dangers of opioids in order to help deter young people from abusing the drugs. Education is the best way to show people, especially children, the problems with opioids.”
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.
This initiative pushes other forms of pain management. Alternatives include physical therapy, non-opioid painkillers, acupuncture, massage therapy and over-the-counter medication.
Parents and caregivers are urged to discuss alternative treatment plans with their child’s healthcare provider. If an opioid proves necessary, they 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.
This story submitted by the office of Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.