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Game Changer youth substance abuse program to hold Monday virtual summit for W.Va. students

MORGANTOWN — Game Changer, the statewide substance misuse prevention program for high schoolers, is going national.

Its first virtual Opioid Awareness and Substance Misuse Summit air live from five locations on Monday: Los Angeles; Henderson, Nev.; Kansas City, Mo.; Baltimore and New York City; along with West Virginia.

In July, Game Changer Coordinator Joe Boczek, of Morgantown, and WVSSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan, one of the driving forces behind the program, appeared with West Virginia’s Governor-Coach Jim Justice to announce plans for a slate of summits and Justice’s new role as state head coach of the program.

Boczek defines Game Changers as “the adult-directed, youth-led prevention, peer-to-peer influence, positive youth development and community enhancement organization designed to educate, support and empower teens to make healthy choices as they prepare to be our leaders of tomorrow.”

Justice announced Monday’s summit in a press release. It will be accessible online at and will be broadcast live from 9-11 a.m. Participants are asked to log on from 8:30-8:45 a.m.

Justice, Dolan, schools Superintendent ClaytonBurch, several nationally known trauma-informed speakers and emcee Shaun Derik will be featured, along with some West Virginia student Game Changers.

The summit will be available to all of West Virginia’s 157,000 middle and high school students.

“As I’ve said many times, our kids in West Virginia are our greatest treasure,” Justice said. “Our goal should always be to empower children to make healthy choices and become leaders in their communities. That’s exactly what the Game Changer virtual summit is going to do.”

Rebroadcasts of the summit will be viewable from 9-11 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday at the same event webpage. Logon will again be available from 8:30-8:45 a.m.

Starting Sept. 28, the summit will be available on-demand at

Game Changer is a cooperative effort between the governor’s office, the WVSSAC, the Department of Education, DHHR, the Office of Drug Control Policy, West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute, the state’s six prevention lead organizers, local, state, and federal law enforcement, and the education sector.

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