Students dancing with teacher

Inside a Preschool That Treats the Youngest Victims of the Opioid Crisis

Although he maneuvers from one activity to the next with the energy and ease of a typical tyke, Ryder, at age 4, has already been exposed to more instability and anguish than most people will experience in a lifetime.

But in what may be the luckiest break of his short life, Ryder lives in a county with a specialized program created to help him process the trauma he has endured and reduce the symptoms that come with it. Out of a destructive crisis that has reshaped families and entire communities—especially in Ohio, with the second-highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in the country—Ryder and his mother found a rare bright spot, a preschool led by a group of educators and health professionals dedicated to repairing some of the damage inflicted on the youngest victims of the opioid epidemic.