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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          April 18, 2013                   

FEDERAL AND STATE OFFICIALS TALK TO GREENBRIER, MERCER STUDENTS ABOUT DRUGS AND BULLYING

Officials also caution students about posting personal information on the Internet

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Booth Goodwin, U.S. Marshal John Foster and West Virginia National Guard Major Gen. James Hoyer today met with faculty members and students from Western Greenbrier Middle School in Greenbrier County, W.Va. and Bluefield Middle School in Mercer County, W.Va., to talk about the dangers of illegal drug abuse, and especially prescription drugs. The three officials also spoke to students and faculty at both schools about safely using the Internet and social media, as well as school bullying. 

Prescription drug abuse is one of the leading causes of crime in the Southern District of West Virginia and the leading cause of death among the nation’s teen population.

Greenbrier and Mercer Counties have been particularly hard-hit by the prescription drug crisis. 

“As a prosecutor, I see hundreds of people every year who’ve thrown away their lives over drugs,” U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said. “If we can persuade even one of these kids to stay off that path, it’ll make all the difference in the world to that person’s life. It’s vitally important to get out the message about the tragic consequences of drug abuse.” 

Goodwin continued, “My paramount goal as a prosecutor is to prevent crimes from happening in the first place. Educating students about positive choices is essential to making our communities safer.”

The officials also noted that roughly 60% of school bullies end up in prison by the time they reach their twenties. 

U.S. Marshal John Foster, who spoke to students about the harmful effects of bullying, said, “The point that I continually re-emphasize to students is that choices in life matter.”
Foster continued, "A person being put down or bullied today could very well grow up to work in a position to help others later in life.”

West Virginia National Guard Major Gen. Jim Hoyer said, “The students have to understand the importance of making wise choices.  Making poor choices or getting involved in illegal drugs will most certainly inhibit success and opportunities.”

U.S. Attorney Goodwin, U.S. Marshal Foster and Maj. Gen. Hoyer have visited numerous schools in the 23-county Southern District of West Virginia over the past year as part of ongoing awareness initiative led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to educate faculty and students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and other issues. 

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