Of all the perils stemming from opioid epidemic in the United States, the abuse of the elderly population by addicts has left everyone stunned. The opioid crisis has led to an unprecedented abuse of adults at home by adult children who are addicts. According to a recent report published in the Boston Globe , there is a 37 percent surge in cases of elder abuse in Massachusetts over the past five years.
The trend shows that adult children who indulge in substance use, mostly move in with their elderly grandparents. The gullible elders became easy prey for these addicts because some of them receive social security checks and other pension checks.
Adult children who become addicts are in constant need of resources to fund their addiction and these financially stable adults become their soft targets. They are then financially, physically and emotionally abused by the addicts.
Money and valuables often go missing
Drugs and pills are expensive and to maintain a steady flow, addicts need enough money. Often these addicts are also without any work because addiction renders them incapable of continuing in their job. So they resort to stealing stuff from home – money, jewelry, other valuables, whatever they could lay their hands on. Numerous cases of theft of jewelry, money and other valuables have been reported by the police.
Cases of physical assault also can not be ruled out. Police, firefighters and emergency medical service crews have become extremely vigilant to track such incidents. According to the Boston Globe report, Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan has asked the first responders to look for unusual bruising on wrists and forearms of olderly as these could have signs of a scuffle with their addict grandchildren. The fear is that addicts may try to get these stuff through duress. Ryan has also asked them to look if there is sufficient food in the refrigerator and other signs of abuse in the house as diligent search of the house may disclose other dark secrets and trails of rampant abuse. The problem is not only in Massachusetts, it is sweeping the entire US
How to contain growing violence at home
The first step is to raise the awareness level of the general population and insure the elderly of their safety. Quick response numbers and helpline should be made available so that one can reach for help at the touch of a button. Parents of these young addicts also have a key role to play and provide security to their own parents from the potentially violent grandchildren.
Available treatment options
The inevitable solution to all these maladies is proper treatment that too as soon as possible. Addiction is more of a disease than a crime. Here, it is a duty to bring every addict to the level of treatment and eliminate the scourge from the society.