The untold cost of the opiate epidemic: elder abuse

Reports of suspected elder abuse in Massachusetts have surged — a troubling increase that law enforcement and elder advocates say is fueled in part by the opioid crisis and addicted adult children exploiting parents and other relatives.

News Story (Massachusetts)

Kay Lazar
Boston Globe
May 14, 2016

Tags: Elder Abuse, Seniors

Organizations mentioned/involved: Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS)


Often elders feel trapped in such dangerous situations, said Betsey Crimmins, a senior attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, who specializes in elder abuse cases. Crimmins said elders may be afraid to speak up for fear their son or daughter, who might take them to medical appointments, will be prosecuted, and the parent will end up in a nursing home.

Crimmins launched an elder abuse prevention task force in 2014. She and other specialists assumed elders would most urgently seek rescue from financial exploitation.

“When we asked the elders in the meeting [about what they needed help with], they all said opioids, and my eyebrows shot up,” Crimmins said. “They identified an issue no one in the room thought to touch.”

Over and over, they heard about adult children who were addicted to opioids moving back with their parents and dealing drugs out of the house.