‘Game Changer’ campaign on opioids ready to kick off with summit

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — An opportunity for students, parents and school leaders around the state to become “game changers” when it comes to opioid abuse is here.

The two-day West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission-MVB Bank Opioid Awareness Summit gets underway Tuesday in Morgantown followed by a day in Huntington Wednesday as part of the launch for the WVSSAC’s ‘Game Changer’ program.

‘Game Changer’ began in June by the WVSSAC to raise the awareness of the state’s opioid crisis through prevention, compassion and recovery efforts in schools.

Joe Boczek, the organizer for the Game Changer summit told MetroNews that this 5-to-10 year plan is different from most others because it is a comprehensive plan.

“There are prevention programs already in place in the schools,” he said. “Then you go to education with recovery, compassion, and treatment in recovery.”

The summit in Morgantown will be held at the WVU Coliseum and in Huntington at the Cam Henderson Center on the campus of Marshall University in front of thousands of students. High school and middle school students unable to attend will have the chance to stream the events.

Boczek said the summit will be both enjoyable and informative as they will have counselors on hands at the event, youth empowerment speakers such as Shaun Derik and former NBA star Chris Herron tell his story about opioid abuse.

One of the most important parts of the ‘Game Changer’ plan that the summit will focus on is recovery, according to Boczek.

“To provide an opportunity for someone in recovery to come out and potentially get money to help them start their education and then to get jobs,” he said.

The campaign will include a website, www.wvgamechanger.com, which will make things available like posters, Game Changer T-shirts and stickers proclaiming “I’m A Game Changer.”

It’s being done in conjunction with Governor Jim Justice; Dr. Steven Paine, State Superintendent of Schools; Bernie Dolan, Executive Director of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC); along with the cooperation and support of Dr. E. Gordon Gee, West Virginia University President; Shane Lyons, WVU Director of Athletics; Dr. Jerome A. Gilbert, Marshall University President; Mike Hamrick, Marshall Director of Athletics; Larry F. Mazza, CEO and President, MVB Financial Corp.; and Donald T. Robinson, Chief Financial Officer, MVB.

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