Tri-State heroin epidemic changing the family landscape

Tri-State's heroin epidemic changing the family landscape

ALEXANDRIA, KY (FOX19) - By now you know heroin is everywhere, and it's grip is tightening on the big communities and small towns.

Families are left burying loved ones far too soon, and are now forced to carry on without them.

"You always hope for the best.  You don't want anything bad to happen to your child.  But never think that it's never going to happen to you.  It can happen to anybody," said Joe Speier who lives in Alexandria.

Speier is a retired Newport firefighter who is now raising his 7-year-old granddaughter, Khali.  Her mother, Katie Strobel, died from an heroin overdose in late October.

"It was a sad day for us because you have to tell at 7-year old they don't have a mom," Speier said.

Speier and his family are proof that the epidemic is far-reaching and changing the scope of families.

"We got custody of Khali about four years ago.  That's how long we've had her now," he said.

They wanted to get her out of an environment surrounded by heroin.  The hope was that Khali's new living situation wouldn't last long.

"When we first got her, my thing was to hopefully one day it would all straighten itself out, and then we were able to get her back to her mom and it would all work out for her," Speier told FOX19 NOW.

The effects of addiction don't stop there for this little girl.  Her dad, Josh, is in rehab fighting the same battle.

"We're hoping and praying that he will turn it around and come back and be a father to his daughter.  That's our goal in life," Speier said of his son.

Until that time comes her grandparents are forced to step in and play mom and dad.  They're taking her to father/daughter dances, and karate and basketball practice.

"I want everybody to beat the devil.  I'm done with the death and destruction this is doing to families," Speier said.

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