NATIONAL CENTER ON ELDER ABUSE
Experts believe that the incidence of elder mistreatment has grown with the rising opioid epidemic. Older people commonly experience chronic health conditions and associated pain for which opioids are prescribed. Mounting reports of opioid misuse have been documented among elders addicted to drugs and their adult children who steal their medication. Though there is little data to quantify the breadth of the problem, reported incidents of opioid misuse often result in financial exploitation and may be accompanied by other, co-occurring forms of mistreatment such as emotional abuse and physical harm. Despite the complexity of this issue, opioid-related elder abuse is an injustice that we can address and prevent.
Signs of Opioid-Related Elder Abuse
- Circular answers to questions about use of opioids
- Dehydration or unusual weight loss
- Displaying unusual changes in behavior and sleep
- Increased fear or anxiety, especially when asked about opioid use
- Isolation from friends or family
- Missing medications (lost or stolen)
- Seeking medication refills before the scheduled refill date
- Unattended medical needs or unsanitary living conditions
- Unexplained injuries, bruises, cuts, or sores
- Unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions
Reach out for help, report abuse! To connect to a local or state reporting number, contact the Eldercare Locator at eldercare.acl.gov or at 1-800-677-1116.