President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency on Thursday.
Nicole Butler spoke with a grandmother, Risa McMillan, who said hearing that acknowledgement gave her the courage to speak out about how she says opioids have torn her family apart.
Cleaning up her grandson's room, Risa McMillan says she never thought she'd be raising children this late in life.
But she says she had to save her grandchildren after her daughter became addicted to opioids.
"You can't fight the drugs -- they are stronger than anything you can imagine. You just don't want to tell somebody, 'I've lost my retirement trying to rescue this child from drugs,'" McMillan says.
She says the fight cost her more than $400,000.
McMillan said she would constantly send her daughter money when she needed it, always keeping the faith that this time she'd use it to seek help.
"But that's not helping, to help is to stop enabling. Stop it, and when you stop it, that's when the healing is going to begin," she says.
Documents from the South Carolina Department of Social Services shows the agency sent the two boys to her home for their protection.
After a year living with Risa, her grandsons are still healing.
"We got to go back and help momma, we got to save momma, but you can't save momma," McMillan says.
Writing on their walls a promise to see their mother again when she's better, but their past still haunts them today.
"They don't really know how to embrace this concept that this is mine and I get to keep it because they think someone is going to come and take it away from them," McMillan says.
McMillan says she feels blessed she's able to give the boys a second chance at childhood, and will keep looking forward to better days.
McMillan says she hopes more attention on the opioid crisis will mean more resources to help family members and let's people know they aren't alone.
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