Caring for kids hit by opioid crisis

The ongoing opioid crisis has garnered much public and private reaction and debate, yet finding answers and solutions that could bring an end to it will take much more time, research and even experimentation on what works best.

Sadly, children left orphaned by the crisis don’t have that much time.

Kids without parents because of death or incarceration of a parent, or a court intervention stemming from a parent’s inability to care for a child, need love, support and care now.

As a result, grandparents whose families have been harshly affected by the opioid crisis increasingly are taking over raising their grandchildren.

It’s difficult or impossible for many of us even to imagine having raised our own children and possibly retired from work outside the home only to suddenly start all over.

But that is happening more and more in recent years, all because of the stranglehold these drugs have on the lives of many parents here and nationwide.

Grandparents snap into action simply out of love and loyalty to fill the void created by addicted parents.

They deserve praise and they deserve help.

On a positive note, the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act became federal law July 7. The bill establishes a federal task force to help grandparents coordinate and share resources.

Statistics show that 100,000 or so Ohio grandparents are the primary caretaker of their grandkids. Not all of these situations were created because of opioid addiction, but undoubtedly many are.

If you’re reading this and you know someone raising a grandchild as a result of the opioid crisis, remember this statement from Cheryl Baker, an Ohio woman now raising three children, ages 5, 8 and 9, after their mother, an addict, left the state.

“We sometimes feel like we’re the forgotten ones,” Baker said. “The phone no longer rings and the door no longer opens.”

Don’t forget to pick up the phone just to say hello.


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