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December 14th, 2012
07:14 AM ET

Children who lost their parents to prescription drug abuse; Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports: 'an epidemic...tearing apart family after family'

Prescription drug abuse is a rampant problem in Kentucky, where over 86 thousand kids are growing up without their parents—many because of this issue. In fact, Kentucky is the fourth most medicated state in the nation and has the sixth highest rate of overdose deaths. Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on that reality from one community that is all too familiar with this "epidemic that is tearing apart family after family."

Hannah Eaton is a high school student in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. She lost both her uncle and cousin to years of prescription drug abuse. “You're constantly hearing of someone else who is dying because of abusing prescription drugs,” Eaton says.

Karen Kelly is the Executive Director of Operation Unite, a community coalition devoted to preventing overdose deaths in Kentucky like those of Eaton's relatives. She says half of the kids in Rockcastle County have no parent in the home whatsoever. “So now we're seeing many raised by great grandparents because we've lost an entire generation of young people,” Kelly says. “And, you know, the kids really are the ones paying the biggest price."

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  1. Annonymous

    Presciption drug addiction is rampant in the U.S.. My family is a victim. I lost my marriage of 12 years and have had numerous court dates after the divorce. It started with a member of the family going to a family doctor. The family doctor sent them to a "pain management specialist" (a drug dealer with an M.D.). Then they were sent to another specialist. All were prescribing pain pills at each visit. All the doctors were visited in a month and each one would ask "How are you doing on your meds?" You can guess what was said. So they would write a script with out consulting the other. This family member went to different pharmacies because they knew the system. I was questioned by my insurance but nothing happened. Legally I could do nothing. I could not committ them because they could check themselves out in 24 to 48 hours. Then you would have to deal with an irrate addict. I asked family to help but no response. So, now I am divorced and in tough financial troubles due to court and unpaid bills by the addict. I wished this could be gotten under control so another child like mine doesn't have to deal with these troubles.

    December 14, 2012 at 11:05 am | Reply

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