“The best part of being a grandparent,” I have heard, “is you get all the fun and none of the daily responsibilities.” Child rear duties such as primary disciplinarian, bedtime enforcer, and homework helper are no longer on the to-do list. The role of a grandparent is to spoil, to listen and to play, bake cookies, go on trips, and then when the fun is over, send home to mom or dad for all the heavy lifting that comes with raising a child.
However, due to the opioid crisis in our country, grandparents are no longer getting the joys of secondary parenting, instead they the new primary caretaker, according to a working research paper entitled, “The Opioid Prescribing Rate and Grandparents Raising Grandchildren” published by the New Census Bureau in April 2019.
Sources were pulled from estimates from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey five-year data and the administrative 2016 Opioid Prescribing Data published by the CDC. States with the highest rate prescription rates for opioids were at the top of the list for grandparents taking care of their grandchildren as the primary caretaker, when mom and dad could not.
In 2017, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national emergency with a plan to address the problem with a new 5-point plan which included allocating $900 million dollars of federal funds to state and local governments for treatment and recovery services including training of first responders and overdose-reversing drugs.