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Washington, D.C. – The Senate Health Committee recently held a hearing titled, “The Opioid Crisis: An Examination of How We Got Here and How We Move Forward.” The Committee heard from author and journalist Sam Quinones, who has studied the opioid problem extensively and wrote a book on the subject titled Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.
During the hearing, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Health Committee, discussed the increasing number of grandparents raising their grandchildren as a result of the opioid crisis. Last year, Senator Collins chaired an Aging Committee hearing that focused on the health and well-being of grandparents who take on the often-unexpected role of raising their grandchildren later in life.
“I want to follow up on your comment about the heroic role that is played by grandparents,” Senator Collins told Mr. Quinones. “In Maine, between 2010 and 2015, the number of grandparents taking care of their grandchildren and being solely responsible for their care soared by 24 percent, due to the opioid epidemic.”
Mr. Quinones agreed with Senator Collins that the opioid crisis is fueling the trend of more grandparents raising their grandchildren. He noted that in states across the country, grandparents are increasingly stepping in to keep families together and care for the youngest victims of the opioid crisis.
Last May, Senator Collins, Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, introduced the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act to create a federal task force charged with supporting grandparents raising grandchildren.
Witness testifying at the hearing: