Opioid crisis to blame for uptick in Grandparents filling the parent role?

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Grandparents filling in as Parents. Photo via WINK News

Two grandparents in south Fort Myers are stepping up and filling the role of mother to their four grandchildren after their mom became a victim to opioid abuse.

Filling the role as parent to four children is a big responsibility says Nancy and Dan Newkirk, but not exactly one they expected to have as grandparents.

“We get up at about 6 in the morning and I get up, get the older three ready for school, Jack’s not in school yet so he stays home with me during the day,” said the Newirks.

The youngest of the four is 5-years old, one is 6 and another is 7. The oldest of the four is 10, and she keeps her grandparents busy.

“After you have raise your children and you go onto having grandchildren…you’re not used to the daily activities and the doctors and dentists and homework,” said Dan.

The Newirk’s blame their daughters opiod addiction on the situation they are in.

”She was my little girl, and she grew up and became one of my best friends…and the drugs took that from me,” said Nancy.

Dan and Nancy credit their faith as a major reason they are able to make it through the hard times they are experiencing as grandparents.

The Newirks are not the only grandparents in this type of situation. New research by the Census Bureau is blaming the opioid epidemic for a growing number of grandparents raising their children.

There is help for families dealing with addiction, it’s called “Caring Families” and it holds weekly meetings at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Caring Families opioid addiction care


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