CHARLESTON — State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has partnered with the West Virginia University School of Nursing to raise awareness about opioid abuse prevention in the Mountain State.
The collaboration will focus on sharing drug abuse prevention information with eighth grade students in Harrison, Marion, Marshall, Monongalia, Preston and Wetzel counties. The initiative kicked off March 16 at Mountaineer Middle School in Morgantown.
“West Virginia University’s School of Nursing plays a vital role in meeting the health care needs of our rural state,” Morrisey said in a press release. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with such a first-class operation on this important issue.
"Educating students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse is crucial to building a better future for West Virginia.”
The AG's office will coordinate events and travel to each school with the nursing students, who will share the detailed presentation. The curriculum covers the opioid epidemic, prevention and the long-term impact of drug use.
“This is an important outreach initiative for our students who soon will be treating patients with substance abuse issues. Education is critical in helping to address addiction issues in our state and by providing our communities, including our schools, with tools and resources, we hope to continue to raise awareness on this important healthcare issue,” said Toni DiChiacchio, assistant dean of faculty practice and community engagement, WVU School of Nursing.
Organizers selected the specific counties due to their close proximity to Morgantown. The AG's office and the WVU School of Nursing hope to expand the program to other parts of the state in future semesters.
The WVU School of Nursing collaboration is one initiative through which the Attorney General has sought to combat West Virginia’s drug overdose death rate. It follows last fall’s widely successful Kids Kick Opioids public service announcement contest, also targeted at raising drug prevention awareness with elementary and middle school students.
Other efforts include criminal prosecutions, civil litigation, multi-state initiatives, new technology, engagement with the faith-based community and a best practices toolkit endorsed by more than 25 national and state stakeholders, including the WVU School of Nursing.