Trey Kay, Samantha Gattsek Published

Grandfamilies of the Opioid Crisis


WVPB’s Us & Them introduces us to an unusual cultural divide, one that exists within families. It’s a generation split that comes when chemical addiction prevents parents from raising their children. Millions of U.S. households have become “grandfamilies,” a new kind of family structure. This generational Us & Them divide, puts pressure on aging adults and spotlights underlying financial issues that cause a strain between parents and their adult children.

West Virginia and other Appalachian states are at the epicenter of this trend and West Virginia has created a unique support program called “Healthy Grandfamilies.” It’s a training program designed to support grandparents when they become caregivers the second time around. This episode originally aired in February 2020 and was recently honored with journalism’s national Edward R. Murrow award.

This episode of Us & Them is presented with support from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the CRC Foundation and the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Subscribe to Us & Them on Apple Podcasts, NPR One, RadioPublic, Spotify, Stitcher and beyond. You also can listen to Us & Them on WVPB Radio every fourth Thursday at 8 p.m., or listen to the encore presentation on the following Saturday at 3 p.m.