BLACKSVILLE, W.Va. – Clay-Battelle High School in Monongalia County is one of 11 schools in the state to be selected as a pilot location for the Game Changer drug prevention program.
The program teams students, teachers and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation leadership programs to youths a clear direction to avoid alcohol and drugs.
For Monongalia County Schools superintendent Eddie Campbell, it’s a chance to reach students with proven methods at an early age. Developing habits and beliefs regarding exercise to sustain healthy living without substances is the goal of the program.
“Hopefully we can get to them and create an environment for them that is not going to transfer to their adulthood that they don’t need to use drugs or alcohol,” Campbell said.
Game Changer Executive Director Joe Boczek recently announced the hiring of Kim Legg as the director of prevention for the program. Legg has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Marshall University and a Master’s Degree in Psychology and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology. Most recently she was the Cabell County Schools Nationally Certified School Psychologist.
“She’s going to be a great addition to our team in coordinating all the prevention programs we’re going to be implementing in the schools,” Boczek said.
Legg has been in Boston in recent days meeting with the Hazelden Betty Ford Prevention Team preparing for beginning of the school year. Legg will visit each of the 12 schools in the program throughout the year offering assistance where needed.
“Hazelton Betty Ford will be in on August 30 to meet with staff to begin implementation,” Boczek said. “Kim will also be making visits to Clay-Battelle High school, and of course the other schools.”
Campbell said the severity of the challenge cannot be understated. The explosion of fentanyl, counterfeit pills and new, more powerful versions of the drug are creating fatalities out of one-time users.
“For young people everything is in the here and now or in the moment,” Campbell said. “They don’t necessarily understand the repercussions of the decisions they make.”
Bozcek said fentanyl is coming very convincingly disguised as major prescription drugs and most recently found resembling salt water taffy- multi-colored pieces wrapped in wax paper. Boczek said many young people have already paid for the mistake with their lives and will continue until education efforts meet children where they are.
“We’re in a way different era, it’s not a good era and things way beyond the experimental stage,” Boczek said. “We’re going to keep putting kids in the ground until educate them that they’re indeed playing Russian roulette.”