Bridgeport high schooler starts non-profit to fight addiction

Published: Jun. 25, 2019 at 4:21 PM EDT
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School may be over for the summer but junior high school student Wesley Cotter isn't taking a break.

He's hard at work creating his very own non-profit- West Virginia Recovery.

The inspiration for his work is personal- Cotter's two older brothers battled drug addiction for years.

"Both of my brothers were unfortunately addicted to drugs a majority of my childhood,"

While this was a difficult time for Cotter and his family- he believes it led him to his path in life,

"I grew up with them suffering, it showed me how I can prosper as I grow older,"

Cotter's brothers have been clean for more than a year now, but seeking help wasn't convenient or cheap.

"It cost a lot of money, it was very expensive," "My brothers went from Galax, Virginia all the way down to southern Florida,"

Cotter knows many people don't have the resources to take the path his brothers did- he hopes his non-profit can guide them to an option that works for them through a website he plans to design.

"We do have more recovery options around here than people realize, and that's what I want this-recover West Virginia- to promote, what we have around here," Cotter said "And how great this state could be if they were given recovery options instead of punishment options,"

Next Cotter wants to attend a leadership conference in Chicago, where he hopes to learn better leadership skills.

"I'll be able to talk to established leaders from all around the world to figure out how I can be a better leader with this non-profit here in north central west virginia," said Cotter "And hopefully to all of West Virginia,"

To afford the conference, Cotter and his brother designed t-shirts with symbols to help spread their message.

"He said what if you made the mountain range into, a beer bottle, a needle, and pills," said Cotter of his brother "And I said that's graphic that's hard to talk about and he said recover is what you need to talk about, it might be hard to talk about, but it's the thing we need to talk about the most.

Cotter says the key to fighting the drug epidemic is having more resources available- something he hopes he can inspire.

"If we could bring more recovery options here in West Virginia, I think the opioid crisis could be turned around,"

The 30th is Cotter's deadline to secure his spot in the conference, if you want to help him by purchasing a $20 t-shirt you can contact him at or donate via his Venmo account wesley-cotter-1.