MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA – A group of West Virginia University students has created a plan to educate their peers about fentanyl and protect them from the dangers of the deadly synthetic drug.
Today in Morgantown, a team of undergraduates led by WVU junior Azeem Khan announced the creation of the Mountaineer Fentanyl Education Task Force. The group includes 10 students who have been meeting since March and consulting with experts in drug prevention, psychiatry, communications, and criminal justice. The students have created a comprehensive strategy that will be implemented in August when the fall semester begins.
“This task force is about students at WVU saying we want to do our part to help. We are ready to step up and help educate our classmates about the dangers of fentanyl in the hopes of saving lives. This is too important for us to sit on the sidelines,” said Khan, a political science major from Charleston and member of the WVU Student Government Association.
“These young leaders have seen the harm caused by fentanyl and they’ve decided to do something about it,” said United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld. “They are bright, they are passionate, and they care deeply about their classmates.”
The mission of the Task Force is to educate all students on the threat posed by fentanyl, connect them with available resources, and deliver strategic messaging to prevent usage of the drug. The focus is on fentanyl because the drug has caused a sharp increase in overdose deaths among adolescents in West Virginia and across the country. The latest tactic being used by drug traffickers is to sell counterfeit pills that appear to be Adderall or Xanax but that actually contain fentanyl.
The Mountaineer Fentanyl Education Task Force is supported by the United States Department of Justice, the Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area initiative, and Game Changer.
“I applaud the efforts of these students for taking such an active role in the important areas of prevention education coupled with the deadly dangers of fentanyl,” says Joe Boczek, Executive Director of GameChanger. “As a West Virginian, I couldn’t be prouder.”
You can follow the Task Force on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @WVFentanylEdu.