Generational Devastation: What lawmakers and physicians are missing in the war against drugs
As I recently sat at a Grandparents Raising Grandchildren meeting with a state senator and his aide, it hit me that they thought our small group of about 20 grandparents was not a big enough constituency for them to consider DOING anything on the war on drugs or aiding us in caring for our grandchildren.
Many of us had just shared the challenges we had in getting funding to help us feed the children on our limited retirement budgets, or how challenging it was just to get the kids medical insurance, or how hard it was to get aid in getting their special needs met in the school systems because we weren’t their “birth” parents.
After hearing of these trials and tribulations, they asked the question, “How many of you are raising your grandchildren due to addiction in the family?” All 20 of us raised our hands. However, I could see the look in their eyes, and heard their comment that although the issue was an important one, our small group of twenty was not enough for them to consider changing or making new laws. When I pointed out to them that September had just been declared Kinship Care Month and that 240,000 children in Maryland, and 1.2 Million across the US were being raised by grandparents, their interests picked up. They at least agreed to share those stats with their colleagues who were running the Heroin Epidemic ad hoq law making committees.
Since I started writing this blog two months ago, my grandchildren have been able to go back with their dad, so I am no longer raising them on my own. My burden has eased, but the children’s burden has not lifted. Their mother is still among the missing parents due to her drug use, so they still have the emotional toll that brings with it. Thank heavens they are living with their dad and his girlfriend who is being an awesome stepmom to them. They also have two grandparents living close by, so have a strong support system.
Not all grandchildren or grandparents are that lucky. Even though I no longer need to go to the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren support group, my heart is still with those in the group, who still have a long haul ahead of them.
When and how can we get politicians to see that those children and grandparents are COLLATERAL DAMAGE in this war on drugs? This damage in my own life started a generation ago, when my adopted daughter’s birth parents were drug users. My daughter came to us after 11 years of being in that environment, and the many rejections that come from being in the foster care system, so we spent most of the time we had her, trying to heal the hurts that went so deep. And now 20 years later, she is still fighting the consequences of that intense hurt by drugging her own pain with street drugs. Her kids are now the 3rd generation of that drug use who suffer the consequences. And all my family members and friends have all been dragged into this fight, just trying to help me help them!
SO WAKE UP POLITICIANS….. DRUG USE IMPACTS MORE THAN JUST THE ADDICT! IT SNOWBALLS THROUGH SOCIETY and CONTINUES FOR GENERATIONS!!