West Virginia's Attorney General is making his way through the Northern Panhandle this week, meeting with those who are aiding the fight against substance abuse. On Monday, he visited Brooke County and sat down with coaches and local school officials. On Tuesday, he met with counsellors and coaches from around Ohio County and Marshall county.
A round table discussion was held and topics like upcoming events and the epidemic impacting the Northern Panhandle. Dr. Jill Maloney, the Wheeling Park HS Mental Health Expert, says "he's very open to suggestions which which is wonderful that he was really trying to listen to us and really trying to engage in the conversation." Ron Scott Jr., the Cultural diversity & community outreach director for YWCA, says "I think it went very well. We got to give some ideas out to his ears and we got to hear some of things that he's doing, and we got to brainstorm and swap ideas and share stuff." Erin McFarland, the health counselor for Northern WV Catholic Schools: "It's good to have some good points of contact and some good people to connect with to move forward. It's a big problem that needs tackled by many people."
While West Virginia still continues to be one of the top states to lead the nation in substance abuse overdoses, Morrisey says prevention and education are the keys to fighting the problem, and it takes the community's support to make it all happen. Maloney says, "we have to go about this encompassing everybody the parents, the teachers, the coaches, the counselors, everyone involved in order to get to these students."
Morrisey says to start with the children, and one of the best ways is be involved with extra-curriculars. Pat Durkin, the Wheeling Park Softball/Swim Coach, says, "I think anytime a student can get involved in something with the school gives them the outlet for a lot of different areas. Ron came up with some really good ideas on how to get into the building. We just need to step forward and get into the schools. Our students need our help." McFarland says, "I think starting with the younger generation is the right way to go."
Some were unaware of how Morrisey is tackling the epidemic, and this discussion opened their eyes to see that this issue involves everyone. Durkin says, "I was blind from what the Attorney general was trying to do. It's a great program, and I think if we can get it out to the students and the coaches in the community, it will help us a lot."
Morrisey is continuing his tour around the state, spreading the awareness of substance abuse and human trafficking.