This area of eastern Kentucky is known for lush, green hillsides and white picket fences. It is a place where bluegrass music may be heard trailing off when a car passes by, where "downtown" is a two-block stretch of quaint shops.
Life here may seem simple, but a darkness has been quietly nestling itself into the community.
"Rockcastle County is averaging one drug-related death per week," said Nancy Hale, an anti-drug activist and educator. "When your county is a little over 16,000 people and you're losing a person a week ... you're losing a whole generation."
The generation being lost, Hale said, is parents. An inordinate number of children in Rockcastle County -- and in neighboring areas in eastern Kentucky -- are living without them.
According to 2010 census data, more than 86,000 children in Kentucky are being raised by someone who is not their biological parent -- mostly grandparents -- and many here blame those fractured families on prescription drugs.
"I know a little girl who found her father dead of a drug overdose, found her uncle dead of a drug overdose, and now she's living with her aunt," said Karen Kelly, executive director of Operation UNITE, a community coalition devoted to preventing overdose deaths in Kentucky.
"The kids really are the ones paying the biggest price."
'You're always worried'
"It's a terrible thing," said Sean Watkins, 17, a junior at Rockcastle County High. "Especially in our community, it's really bad."
When he was 10, Watkins and his family were expecting his mother for dinner, but she never showed up. He and a family friend went looking for her at her home.
They walked into her bedroom and saw her face down, motionless. The friend quickly whisked Watkins out of the room.
"I don't know what was going on, but I knew something was wrong," said Watkins.
His mother was dead after overdosing on Oxycontin.
At the time, Watkins says that he and his mother had been estranged for years because of her prescription-drug addiction. His father had not been in his life since shortly after his birth.
"Growing up without parents, without a normal mom and dad, you feel different," said Watkins. "You go to your friend's house and they have a happy family ... you're jealous. You want that."
Shortly after his mother's death, Watkins says his grandmother also became addicted to prescription drugs, and eventually vanished. Now he lives with his grandfather.
"I'm grateful that I have my grandfather who stepped in and takes care of me now," said Watkins. Still, he calls growing up without parents "horrible."
It sometimes feels is as if every student at his school has been touched by the epidemic, he said.
"The hardest part of growing up without a dad would be not having that model family that you always see," said Avery Bradshaw, 16, also a student at Rockcastle County High School.
Bradshaw's father overdosed on Oxycontin when he was 7. His mother, he said, is in and out of his life, so he is being raised by his great-grandparents.
Avery knows many children at school who are not so lucky. After their parents overdose or abscond because of prescription drugs, the kids go from couch to couch and from home to home -- living in a constant state of transience.
For those children whose parents have not overdosed but are deep in their addiction, there is a sense of perpetual wariness about what they might find when they get home from school.
"You're always worried ... if your parents are even going to be there, you know, what's going on in your house?" said Bradshaw. "A lot of kids have to go through that every day and it definitely wears them down, you know."
The prescription drug overdose epidemic just recently began appearing on the national radar, so figures concerning the number of children orphaned after a parent overdoses are difficult to assess.