Fourth-Grader Honored As Statewide ‘Kids Kick Opioids’ Winner

Updated 1 year ago Edited from a Press Release
Fourth-Grader Honored As Statewide ‘Kids Kick Opioids’ Winner
CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced a southern West Virginia student as the statewide winner of the Kids Kick Opioids contest, a competition designed to spur creativity and raise awareness of prescription painkiller abuse.

Blake Pacitto, of Lashmeet/Matoaka Elementary School in Mercer County, was selected as the statewide winner from entries submitted by 2,300 students across West Virginia. The contest has generated more than 4,000 entries since its inception.
The fourth-grader’s winning design illustrated how opioid abuse threatens the user’s employment, home life and time spent with loved ones. It warns that opioid abuse could ultimately lead to prison or death.
It will soon appear in newspapers across West Virginia as the Attorney General’s next public service announcement.
“Congratulations to Blake and each of our regional winners,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Blake’s design explains the pervasive impact of opioid abuse in the user’s life. I pray that adults will take note of Blake’s simple design so that we may restore our communities and end senseless death.
“This year’s entries really showcase the tremendous talent of our elementary and middle school participants. The entries also underscore the seriousness of the drug epidemic. So many designs leave little question that our students understand the impact of growing up in a generation shaken by opioid abuse. Let’s hope their artwork will bring about new awareness and a commitment to change,” he added.
Judges recognized Nevaeh Premo, a seventh-grade student at Rivesville Elementary/Middle School in Marion County, as statewide runner-up. Her design will appear with Pacitto’s on the Attorney General’s website.
Judges recognized 35 winning entries from 41 students overall. Designs belonging to Pacitto, Premo and each of the regional winners will be displayed at the State Capitol.
The Attorney General received 2,087 entries from 2,300 students at 70 elementary and middle schools across West Virginia. The submissions included a mix of drawings, poems and other designs aimed at promoting awareness.
Kids Kick Opioids represents one initiative through which the Attorney General has sought to combat West Virginia’s drug overdose death rate – the nation’s highest. Other initiatives include criminal prosecutions, civil litigation, sweeping changes to drug policy, multistate partnerships, awareness initiatives and engagement with the faith-based community.
The West Virginia State Medical Association, West Virginia Association of School Nurses and the Capitol Police assisted the Attorney General in judging the public service announcement contest.
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