TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The silent victims of the opioid epidemic are kids. About 900 of them throughout the community are taken away from their parents and put into local foster care.
"My unit will tell you last year I identified that we were having issues with parents and their children, parents didn't want to go into treatment because they were worried about their kids and at the same time what do you do as an officer," said Lt. Robert Chromik with Lucas County DART.
That is where the partnership between DART and Lucas County Children Services, which was announced Tuesday, comes into play.
One DART officer will act as the link between the two. Providing services to these moms and dads, getting them clean, getting them a job and then ultimately reuniting them with their children.
"They have developed the expertise to talk folks into treatment and if we can make that happen while we are doing the servicing of the family, that is a win-win for this whole community," said Robin Reese, the Lucas County Children Services Director.
Addicts have 12 months to get clean and get their kids back during the case planning process. Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp said they will stay with the addicts for two years, making sure they're not relapsing after treatment as well as keeping their eyes on what's important, their kids.
"People that are addicted have lost sight, they've lost their common sense, they need to have the drive, they need to have the help to get the drive so if that is made available to them, if they can see that there is light at the end of the tunnel, I think they will take it," said Sheriff Tharp.
"It will be a fantastic opportunity to see people not only heal themselves, but also be able to heal their family at the same time," said Chromik.
The partnership is expected to start in as little as two weeks.