ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio (WTRF) – It’s no secret that Ohio and West Virginia have become overrun with opioids, but there is one part of the population who are helpless against it. 7News met up with one man who has spent over 40 years of his life working to help those who cannot help themselves.

Jerry Moe has helped to build a cartoon character that you may be familiar with, Karli from Sesame Street. Karli isn’t just a precious and fun character, but her role in the show has shown what it’s like to be raised by parents who are dealing with addiction. Tuesday, Jerry traveled to Thorburn United Methodist Church in St. Clairsville to speak to officials who he believed can help with the epidemic.

Jerry and Sesame Street’s mission is to educate our kids and adults who work closely with those kids, on how to be strong. Often times, when kids admire their parents who are struggling with addiction, they begin to think when they “go away,” “get in trouble,” or are angry at the child, it’s the child’s fault.

So, how do we help them understand?

Jerry showed officials today’s strategies to help them build strength. He said education is key, and the best way to help kids is sometimes to help yourself first.

When we talk about boys and girls who are growing up around addiction, often they are referred to as “kids at risk.” I want the audience to understand today that these are kids of promise. With education, and support, and building a healthy, caring, nurturing relationship, we can begin to change their lives. We talked about messages today. It’s not your fault. You’re not alone. There are safe people and safe places here in Ohio and West Virginia, that can truly make a difference in these kids lives.

Jerry Moe – Director, Hezelden Betty Ford Foundation

He says Tuesday’s presentation couldn’t be more timely because it’s National Children of Addiction week, and nearly one out of every three families are affected by addiction.

For more information on Sesame Street’s parental addiction initiative, free resources and age-appropriate videos, you can go to their website.

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