Family vs. ‘The Opioid Epidemic’

WETM Special Reports

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – An Opioid Epidemic is when opioid drugs become misused and abused. This can result in severe consequences as extreme as death.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the state of New York saw 3,224 overdose deaths­­­ involving opioids in 2017.

When individuals are caught with these substances, they face a wide variety of possible punishments; with one couple, it was their parents who are paying the price.

Douglas Preston and his wife are Elmira, N.Y. natives who are parents of two. Preston’s son and his girlfriend became parents of a boy named Arthur.

Arthur was born two months earlier than expected. The same day he was born, his parents were caught with, what they said was marijuana.

Child services gave Preston two options that day: adopt his grandson or give him up for adoption.

“I knew I was going to adopt him from day one,” said Preston. “Even before we brought him home from the hospital, the told me that.”

Douglas and his wife are grandparents who are now raising their grandson for the past 2-years. Preston’s son and girlfriend lived with them for just two days until Arthur found a cap outside and gave it to his grandfather.

Preston knew what that cap was but still went to his local drug store and asked if the cap belonged to a syringe that people use to shoot up drugs.

The pharmacist confirmed that it was, and Preston then told his son, that he had to move out and would not be able to see Arthur until he could prove he was clean and sober.

The change has taken a huge toll on Preston’s mental well-being. “I had to go to the doctors and get medicine to calm myself down to I can keep working,” said Preston.

“It’s really hard because of our age to take on this responsibility of doing it again, raising another kid,” said Preston.

Now he and his wife have been trying to get help from government officials.

“They told us they would help us take care of our grandson until he was 18, maybe even 21.” But that was not the case as Preston continued to say “we ended up being foster parents and then from foster parents, we did the adoption.”

Preston told 18 News that once they did the adoption, they no longer received help from Child welfare.

Douglas said he thinks that other parents in the same situation need to get together and figure out how to get the government to help more.

“They help with everyone else, why wouldn’t you want to help us?”


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