West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced eight students from central and southeastern West Virginia as regional winners of the office’s seventh Kids Kick Opioids contest, a competition designed to spur creativity and raise awareness of prescription painkiller abuse.
Regional winners are Samantha Kennedy, of Clay County Middle School in Clay County; Brookelynn Neel, Sarah Arthur and Haylee Surface, of Mountain View Elementary & Middle School in Monroe County; Autumn Hively, of Hillsboro Elementary School in Pocahontas County; Mitchell Koerber, of Marlinton Middle School in Pocahontas County; and Lailyn Yost and Emma Crawford, of Ridgeview Elementary School in Raleigh County.
“Drug abuse needlessly claims too many lives, and our hope is the entries from these artistic students will bring greater awareness and change—these entries really showcase the tremendous talent of our elementary and middle school participants,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “These artworks underscore the impact of the opioid epidemic on our young students. They are growing up in a time when drug abuse runs rampant. Our hope is their artwork will bring about greater awareness and a renewed commitment to change.”
The Attorney General received a total of 2,347 entries from 2,450 students at 66 middle and elementary schools across West Virginia. The submissions included a mix of drawings, poems and other designs aimed at promoting awareness.
Judges recognized winning entries from 65 students overall. Those designs will be displayed in the State Capitol in the fall.
The statewide winner and runner up will be announced soon. That 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 fought 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.