Opioid crisis spells “Trouble” for kids

opioidsNo fewer than three articles in today’s Boston Herald illustrate the severity of the opioid crisis in our communities. The first is about a Westfield mother whose unconscious one-year- old son was brought back to life with the overdose-reversing drug Narcan. The child was rushed to the ER – a result of his mother’s drug addiction and having heroin in the home. The second article is a heartbreaking piece about the same mother and son and how children deserve so much better than this.

The third article shares staggering statistics of substance-exposed newborns – a crisis that the March of Dimes is trying to help rectify. All three stories addressed the alarming opioid abuse in our communities and how it is affecting not only adults, but children as well. The crisis is so bad that the March of Dimes is appealing to the Department of Children and Families to reduce their caseloads in order to prioritize and treat babies addicted to opiates. Kids are being removed from their homes at alarming rates, often with only the clothes on their backs. All of their toys and belongings, if they are allowed to take anything with them, are thrown in trash bags.

In one article, Department of Public Health spokesman Scott Zoback said “between March 2014 and August 2015, the state received a total of 3,452 reports of substance-exposed newborns.” Reporter Jessica Heslam noted, “Babies should be safe and snug in their mothers’ arms or cribs or baby seats — not crawling around hundreds of empty heroin bags on the filthy floor of their homes.” She goes on to say that, “Addiction is a horrible affliction, and I’m sympathetic, but that baby boy deserves so much better. All children do.”

What a crushingly sad state of affairs for so many of the youngest members of our society.

Trouble the Dog was “born” nine years ago in response to a tragic sequence of events in the life of one young child. In plush form, Trouble has helped provide comfort to thousands of children in crisis since that time. While he is not the solution to the opioid epidemic, he offers the tactile comfort young children crave during times of crisis.

We are working with various agencies to establish a distribution network for plush Trouble dogs to make sure they get into the arms of children when they need him most. Stay tuned for more information on this new initiative.

In the meantime, you can shop for Trouble and make a difference for a child in your life.