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May 24, 2023

GameChanger panelists discuss moves being made in W.Va to fight ongoing fentanyl crisis

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (WVVA) - Wednesday, May 24, The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs was the scene of the Third Annual GameChanger Prevention Education Golf Classic Dinner.

GameChanger was created in 2018 with the mission of preventing drug and alcohol abuse and misuse in the youth population of West Virginia- specifically by introducing prevention education in schools- and Wednesday’s event was a way to celebrate the hard work being done while acknowledging the work still left to do in the fight against drugs.

“It [drug epidemic] was on the verge of cannibalizing our whole state,” shared West Virginia Governor Jim Justice. “Like it or not like it. That’s exactly where we were on the glide path to be, so with all that being said, we had a lot of people step up.”

Before Wednesday’s dinner, GameChanger held a press conference. In attendance were Gov. Jim Justice, United States Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and GameChanger Executive Director and Founder Joe Boczek. Hall of Fame basketball coach Roy Williams was also there and served as the evening’s keynote speaker. During the panel, the group discussed how they plan to prevent drugs in families, not just react to the effects of them.

“We’re going to outthink them [drugs]; we’re going to outsmart them; we’re going to outfight them, and we are going to beat them,” Boczek shared. “If anyone thinks they’re not coming after our kids, they are.”

While there is a long way to go in the fight, those involved say West Virginia is becoming a model in showing kids across the country that one pill can kill.

“West Virginia has played a key role in developing some of the solutions or some of the answers to some of the problems,” explained Senator Capito. “GameChanger is certainly an innovative, new, fresh approach to go younger and younger in schools. Kids know a lot more in fourth and fifth grade than many of us knew in fourth and fifth grade...I can guarantee you that.”

In the last two years, the annual GameChanger event has raised more than $800,000 for prevention education in West Virginia schools. Learn more here.