Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Experts believe that the incidence of elder mistreatment has grown with the rising opioid epidemic.1 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. Health care professionals, in particular, must be aware of the signs of abuse to identify mistreatment and intervene to avert harm to their older patients.
The fact sheet offers 10 red flags, advice from experts, and a number of resources.