Press Releases

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Highmark West Virginia and FBI release video for Students on the consequences of opioids

Charleston, W.Va. (September 14, 2022) – In an effort to educate West Virginia middle-school and high school-aged youth on the dangers of opioid use, officials from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia and the FBI Pittsburgh’s Charleston, W.Va. Resident Agency teamed up to create a powerful video illustrating the dangers of opioid misuse. The video highlights the far-reaching effects it can have on the individual, family members and community.

“In addition to students realizing the detrimental effects of drug use on themselves, employers also need to understand and not underestimate the direct impact it has on the families and work lives of its employees,” said Highmark West Virginia President Jim Fawcett. “We have employees who have directly dealt with family drug use and through that better understand how to navigate those turbulent waters. If this video helps one student or family in West Virginia, then this project was worth our efforts.”

The video was created earlier this year featuring real-life, personal stories of dangerous opioid use and addiction, educational resources, and various tools available that focus on prevention for students and families. The video concept was developed following Highmark West Virginia receiving an award for a previous education initiative for educators and students in the Pittsburgh, Pa. area. This project is in collaboration with the West Virginia Department of Education, which provide these resources to an estimated 1,100 teachers and ultimately students throughout West Virginia.

The FBI Pittsburgh’s Charleston W.Va. Resident Agency and Highmark West Virginia’s Pharmaceutical Financial Investigation team have hosted in-school educational sessions through a partnership with the West Virginia Department of Education. This latest video project is another approach to reach students in a highly impactful way, lending a professional lens toward the issue. The video also provides another tool to help West Virginia’s health teachers fulfill their education requirement on the dangers of opioid use, the addictive characteristics of opioids, and safer alternatives to treat pain.

“The FBI is committed to finding new ways to approach the opioid crisis,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall. “There is no question that drug trafficking is an inherently violent business. Families are forced to see and deal with the problem on a daily basis. We all see the benefit in the growing partnerships among law enforcement and the public health and mental health sectors. Working together in this fight is critical because no one agency can do it alone. It will take the whole community."

The video is available to the public and is also being shown to West Virginia educators as they prepare for schools return to enable them to better understand, educate and support their students regarding opioid misuse and abuse. The video is available at https://youtu.be/pZz6k-vKs3k

About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia 
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia serves approximately 240,000 members through the company’s health care benefits business and hundreds of thousands of additional members through the BlueCard® program. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of West Virginia holds the largest share of the commercial market, and more West Virginians carry a Blue Cross Blue Shield card than any other insurance carrier in the state. Highmark West Virginia employs approximately 600 people and serves as a key economic driver in the state with its total economic impact reaching $352 million.

For more information, contact 

Cathy McAlister
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia
304-347-7754
cathy.mcalister@highmarkhealth.org