BLACKSVILLE, W.Va. – Governor Jim Justice welcomed the first schools to begin the GameChanger Opioid and Substance Misuse Prevention Education Program.
Students and staff at Clay-Battelle Middle and High School were visited by Gov. Justice and Babydog as he announced they will one of two schools for the pilot of the new state program.
The GameChanger program is a student-powered, substance misuse prevention movement. Its goal is to build school environments with student peer leaders to curb student drug use.
“With our set up being 6 through 12 we’re going to be able to get these kids in sixth grade and hopefully by the time they’re seniors they have a strong base and say, ‘no I’m not going to be a part of this,’ David Cottrell, principal of Clay Battelle Middle-High School said.
During his speech, Justice encouraged the kids to not just follow the crowd and make the right choice when it comes to substance use.
“If you don’t watch out, these drugs can cannibalize us,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve got so many opportunities in this state right now it’s off the chart and absolutely as we are on that rocket ship ride, we want to keep on the rocket ship ride and provide more and more opportunity to our kids. We don’t want to lose some of them.”
Additionally, during his speech, Justice said he wanted goodness for the kids in the state. Justice took the time to shake every student’s hand at the assembly announcement where he said he’s honored to be their governor.
“I want to give everything that I have back and with that, if I can reach out a hand and extend some level of kindness and importance to a kid and it changes that life, really and truly at the end of the day, how’s it get any better than that?” Justice said. “The giver is the one that always wins.”
The program is the first of its kind in the nation and results from a service agreement between GameChanger and the world-renowned Hazelden-Betty Ford Foundation. The other school in the pilot of the program is Wheeling Park High School.