MOOREFIELD, W.Va. (WHSV) — The Friday night gridiron showdown between Moorefield and East Hardy has been chosen as this week's Opioid Abuse Prevention Game of the Week in West Virginia.
Every week, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announces one game in the state where state health officials will focus on opioid abuse awareness. It's now the fourth year of the initiative by the attorney general.
“The opioid epidemic has had a devastating effect on West Virginia’s youth,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Most every student knows somebody that has been impacted by the crisis. We must be persistent in our efforts to raise awareness. It is crucial that student athletes and their communities learn about the negative impact of opioid drug abuse.”
Throughout the week, field representatives from the Attorney General's Office will discuss the dangers of opioid abuse with coaches from both teams and provide educational material for display and distribution in the schools to foster more discussion of the issue.
At the game on Friday, the Attorney General’s Office will staff an information booth to distribute materials as well.
“Our state is in a crisis with the opioid epidemic, and so this partnership between East Hardy and Attorney General Morrisey’s Office to raise awareness is essential to help combat the issue,” said East Hardy High Athletic Director Devon Orndorff.
The initiative is part of a broader partnership to tackle opioid use in high school athletics in West Virginia. It involves the Attorney General’s Office, West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission and the West Virginia Board of Medicine.
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, Morrisey argues.
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.