FILE - School choice, student, classroom

(The Center Square) – A program designed to prevent substance abuse and opioid abuse is launching in three Harrison County, West Virginia public schools in the Fall of 2022, Gov. Jim Justice and Game Changers announced this week.

The Opioid and Substance Misuse Prevention Program will focus primarily on education by giving students information and skills designed to discourage them from abusing opioids, alcohol and other drugs, according to a news release. The Game Changers initiative implements peer leadership programs with paid coaches who work with school counselors, teachers and the Prevention Team at Hazelden Betty Ford.

This program will be launched in Lincoln High School, Lincoln Middle School and Big Elm Elementary School.

"I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am today to make this announcement of the first Game Changers Schools," Justice said in a statement. "The collaboration between Game Changers and the world-renowned Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation shows the level of commitment all of those involved are making to support students and break the cycle of addiction.”

Harrison County Schools Superintendent Dora Stutler said he is pleased and honored that Harrison County schools were chosen to be the first schools in West Virginia to have the program.

West Virginia Game Changers intends to launch the program in every elementary, middle and high school by fall of 2027.

Staff Reporter

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.