Children. We raise them to make good decisions and send them off into the world hoping they know what is right and wrong. We look forward to having time to ourselves and watching them have families and children we can spoil. But what happens when their bad choices affect your grandchildren? Do you step in and take over or do you let your grandchildren face the foster care system?
Currently, there is a large wave of America’s older generation having to step in and take over for various reasons. The biggest reason for parents having to relinquish control and care of their children to the state or another family member is drug addiction, especially opioids.
Over the years grandparents have regularly stepped into the shoes of their children and taken over child custody during drug crises like meth and crack, but this trend is on the rise with the opioid crisis within the United States. The executive director of Generations United Donna Butt claims “with the opioid epidemic, it seems so much more severe and, in some ways more hopeless. Which is why I think the grandparents and other relatives that are stepping forward are playing such a critical role because hope is with the children.”
The opioid crisis
Opioids are a form of the drug, that attempt to reduce pain just like opium would. These drugs are not just illegal ones like heroin but also legally prescribed ones that are given to patients by doctors on a daily basis such as morphine. During 2016 out of the 63,600 deaths caused by drug overdose, 42,249 were caused by an overdose of an opioid drug. That amounts to 115 overdose caused deaths on a daily basis by opioids.
This increase in addiction is closely linked to the increasing rate at which they are prescribed by doctors. In a twenty-year period, the number of opioids prescribed rocketed from 112 million a year to 282 million a year. As dependence on the drug grows so does the tolerance for it, meaning a user will have to take more and more to feel the effects.
Currently, it is thought roughly 11.2 million of the United States population aged above twelve have misused prescription medication. These numbers were provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration who also believe, that 0.3% of the population aged twelve and above have used heroin.
How to cope with having custody as a grandparent or relative?
It can be quite hard taking in a child that is not your own even if you are related by blood, and it is even more difficult if this child comes from trauma. It is important to connect with others in a similar situation for support and guidance through rough times.
If you believe that your grandchildren are at harm and that it would be a better solution for you to gain custody from the parents, then a child custody attorney in Salt Lake City is here to help get you your rights. For support and guidance from a child custody lawyer in Salt Lake City call our offices at 801-804-5152.