West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced his office will feature the November 3 matchup of Pocahontas County High School Warriors vs. Shady Spring Tigers as an Opioid Abuse Prevention Game of the Week.\r\n\r\nThroughout each week the initiative engages with student athletes, coaches, school officials and communities across West Virginia. Field representatives discuss the dangers of opioid use with the respective coaches and provide educational material for display and distribution in the schools to foster more discussion of the issue.\r\n\r\nThe week culminates with the Attorney General\u2019s Office staffing an information booth at each of the select sporting events to distribute opioid abuse awareness materials.\r\n\r\n\u201cAlleviating the opioid scourge is vitally important to making our state the best it can be,\u201d Morrisey said. \u201cThis epidemic has taken too many of our young people and left children without parents. As long as we work together, we will make a difference.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe initiative, now in its second year, is part of a broader partnership to tackle opioid use in high school athletics. It involves the Attorney General\u2019s Office, West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission and the West Virginia Board of Medicine.\r\n\r\nOpioid painkillers may temporarily relieve pain, but do nothing to address the underlying injury and can have serious side effects. The medication also carries striking similarities to heroin.\r\n\r\nThe Attorney General and his partners worry the unnecessary usage of opioid painkillers to treat athletic injuries could lead to increased dependence, abuse and addiction.\r\n\r\nThis initiative pushes other forms of pain management. Alternatives include physical therapy, non-opioid painkillers, acupuncture, massage therapy and over-the-counter medication.\r\n\r\nParents and caregivers are urged to discuss alternative treatment plans with their child\u2019s healthcare provider. If an opioid proves necessary, they are encouraged to strictly use the medication as directed, closely monitor their child\u2019s use, safely dispose of any unused pills and talk about the inherent dangers of misuse, abuse and sharing.