The opioid epidemic surging across the nation has affected countless numbers of individuals who have become addicted to these dangerous drugs. However, another group of people being affected indirectly is grandparents. As the epidemic has spread, untold numbers of adults getting ready to enjoy the last 20 to 30 years remaining to them in retirement and beyond are now finding themselves raising their grandchildren. These people have children who are addicted to drugs and who have chosen to give up their own children to their parents due to legal, financial or other personal reasons.
Family Support Through Rehabilitation
One state where this is becoming quite commonplace is Massachusetts where over 1,700 babies were born in 2014 after being exposed to drugs. These babies often have terrible side effects from the drugs that they were exposed to while still in utero. They may even have withdrawal symptoms that require hospitalization during the beginning of their lives. Some are left with the consequences of their parent’s actions for years if not the rest of their lives.
In addition, the grandparents of these babies are being put into increasingly tight spots. Not only must they care for these babies in order to ensure that these children receive stable and healthy childhoods, but also they must deal with the pressures and distresses of having children who are still addicted to drugs. It can be a very stressful and tiring experience for these individuals who already had a relaxing retirement planned. Instead, they are left raising another family at an advanced age.
Many entities are fighting for more financial aid for grandfamilies in the United States. The Children’s Defense Fund is one such group. In addition, the Family First Prevention Services Act works to get these children out of foster homes and into homes with their own family. It is hoped that over the upcoming years, additional legislation will aid in the fight against the opioid epidemic and for the rights of the children of the epidemic.