West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced nine students from central and southeastern West Virginia as regional winners of the office’s fifth Kids Kick Opioids contest, a public service announcement partnership with elementary and middle schools that encourages students to raise awareness of prescription painkiller abuse.
Regional winners are: Jasmine Christensen of Clay Middle School; Lydia Sauselein of Mountain View Elementary and Middle School; Jacob P. James of Independence Middle School; Gavin Coleman and Laierra Webber, both of Trap Hill Middle School; and Eden Smith, Jacob Allen Bennett, Morgan Armstrong and Riley Pollach, all of Marlinton Middle School.
“Drug abuse needlessly claims too many lives, and our hope is the entries from these artistic students will bring greater awareness and change,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “These entries reveal not only the immense creativity and talent of our students — in some instances, their designs also show the heartbreaking situations that some students experience at home.”
Judges recognized winning entries from 67 students overall. Those designs will be displayed in the State Capitol in the fall.
The statewide winner and runner up will be announced soon. The statewide winning entry will appear in newspapers across West Virginia as the Attorney General’s next public service announcement.
Kids Kick Opioids represents one of many initiatives through which the Attorney General has sought to combat West Virginia’s drug overdose death rate, including a lawsuit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that achieved sweeping reforms to the nation’s drug quota system.
The Attorney General also has combated the opioid crisis with civil litigation, multistate initiatives, funding to target opioid abuse, criminal prosecutions, new technology, engagement with the faith-based community and education.
The West Virginia Board of Pharmacy, West Virginia Association of School Nurses and the Capitol Police assisted the Attorney General in judging the public service announcement contest.