Gov. Jim Justice announced Wednesday that the Game Changer initiative – one of the largest public-private coalitions of its kind in the nation aimed at tackling opioid and substance misuse, along with other issues impacting West Virginia’s youth – will hold a series of four virtual summits across the state this fall.
The goal of the summits will be to empower children to make healthy choices and become leaders in their communities.
The virtual regional summits will kick-off in September.
The state will be divided into four regions and the interactive summits, featuring trauma-informed speakers.
The summits will raise awareness to the issues of substance misuse, vaping, tobacco and alcohol use, teen suicide and foster parenting.
The events will be broadcast to 157,000 middle and high school students throughout West Virginia.
Gov. Justice went on to announce that he will soon bring together representatives from all parties of Game Changer’s public-private coalition – including leaders in education, behavioral health, substance misuse prevention, nutrition, law enforcement, medicine, and business – for a Game Changer team meeting at the Governor’s Mansion.
For the past 18 months, the State has worked to strengthen its partnership with the Game Changer program. Leaders from the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE), West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), and the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission (WVSSAC), with assistance from numerous social service and law enforcement agencies from across the state, have worked alongside partner organizations in the private sector to develop a comprehensive initiative aimed at battling opioid addiction and its devastating effects in West Virginia.