CANFIELD TWP., Ohio –
The opioid epidemic is having devastating impacts across the country. Not only is it having an effect on those addicted to the drug, but also on their families.
Child psychologist David Chiarella said that in some cases it can lead to an increased chance of child abuse from strangers, as more people may come into the home.
The epidemic has lead to an overall increase in children being put into the foster care system.
“It has a dramatic effect,” said Chiarella, “I mean, there’s been a tremendous increase in the amount of children going into foster care, there’s been a tremendous increase in children that are being [neglected] at home because the parent might be present, but emotionally they are absent.”
Witnessing an overdose can have traumatic effects on a child including regression, sleep pattern disturbances, withdrawal and severe anxiety.
At the scene of an overdose, Chiarella said, “What we want to do, as quickly as possible, is provide that child with some sense of security because their whole world has been turned upside down, so now we have to make them feel like their is someone out there who is going to be there.”
Canfield High School sophomore, Callia Barwick, is hoping to provide that sense of security by holding a teddy bear drive.
After speaking to Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office, Barwick decided to hold the drive that will collect new and gently used stuffed animals at in donation bins at the high school, as well as at the Ohio State Extension Center from February 14th through April.
Barwick hopes to collect at least 100 stuffed animals which will then be donated to Canfield police and YPD.
The officers will be able to use these toys to help console children in crisis situations.
Barwick explained that the stuffed animals allow kids to hold on to those memories that are just those kind acts of someone really caring for them and showing that they belong in society.
Barwick hopes to hold three teddy bear drives this year.