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Opioids tied to increase in grandparents caring for grandchildren

The opioid epidemic is a national health emergency that impacts individuals, families and municipalities. Nevertheless, researchers were still surprised when they found a new connection between areas with higher levels of opioid prescriptions and addiction and grandparents over 30 who are actively raising grandchildren. While Texas does not see the highest numbers of addiction, the state does rank in the top tier of 1.76% or higher number of grandparents responsible for their grandchildren. The national average is 1.38%.

Census Bureau data

Using census data collected between 2012 and 2016, researchers found that connection was highest in the South, with states with the biggest opioid issues from prescription and subsequent addiction:

  • Mississippi has 2.9% of grandparents and 105.6 prescriptions per 100 residents.
  • Alabama has 2.2% of grandparents and 121.0 prescriptions per 100 residents.
  • Arkansas has 2.2% of grandparents and 114.6 prescriptions per 100 residents.
  • Louisiana has 2.2% of grandparents and 98.1 prescriptions per 100 residents.

Researchers found that a primary reason for the relation of opioids and grandparents as the primary caregiver of the child was that the parents were more likely to be incarcerated, in rehabilitation or simply unable to fulfill their responsibilities as a parent. This means that grandparents are taking in children as the legal guardian, caregiver or adopted parent.

Taking legal steps may be the best option

Plano and the surrounding area is not as bad as many places in the state or elsewhere in the country, but these numbers are still a grim reminder of the terrible impact that opioid addiction has upon individuals and families.

Those grandparents who wish to step in and seek legal guardianship or adoption can consult an experienced Board-certified family law expert attorney in Collin County, Denton County or elsewhere throughout Texas who can help you determine the best option ensuring the safety and care of your grandchildren. 

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