Thursday, October 27, 2016

Prop. 106 Will Create New Paths of Elder Abuse

To view similar information in a pdf format, go to "Dore Memo Opposing Prop. 106," which can be viewed here and here.

By Margaret Dore, Esq, MBA

Elder abuse is already a problem in Colorado. Passage of Prop. 106 will make it worse. See below.

A. Elder Abuse is a Pervasive Problem, Which Includes the Abuse, Financial Exploitation and Murder of Older Adults

There are more than 11,000 cases of adult abuse, including elder abuse, reported each year in Colorado.[1] Elder abuse perpetrators are often family members.[2] They typically start out with small crimes, such as stealing jewelry and blank checks, before moving on to larger items or to coercing victims to sign over deeds to their homes, change their wills or liquidate their assets.[3] Victims may even be murdered.[4] Amy Mix, of the AARP Legal Counsel of the Elderly, states:
[D]efendants are family members, lots are friends, often people who befriend a senior through church . . . .  We had a senior victim who had given her life savings away to some scammer who told her that she’d won the lottery and would have to pay the taxes ahead of time. . . . The scammer found the victim using information in her husband’s obituary.[5]
Elder abuse is prevalent in part because victims do not report it. “One study estimates that only 1 in 14 cases ever comes to the attention of the authorities.”[6] In another study, it was 1 out of 25 cases.[7] According to Denver Human Services, victims are: afraid to speak up, worried about retaliation and embarrassed.[8] Another explanation:
[They] don’t want to report their own child as an abuser.[9]
B.  "Even if a Patient Struggled, 'Who Would Know?"

Prop. 106 allows the death by lethal dose to occur in private without supervision.[10] The drugs used are water and alcohol soluble, such that they can be administered to a restrained or sleeping person without consent.[11] Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director for the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, puts it this way:
With assisted suicide laws in Washington and Oregon [and with Prop. 106], perpetrators can . . . take a “legal” route, by getting an elder to sign a lethal dose request. Once the prescription is filled, there is no supervision over administration. . . . Even if a patient struggled, “who would know?” (Emphasis added).[12]
Prop. 106 will render people sitting ducks to their heirs and other predators - even more than they already are.


[1]  Denver Human Services, (As of January 29, 2016).
[2]  Id. and MetLife Mature Market Institute Study: “Broken Trust: Elders, Family and Finances,” March 2009, available at
[3]  MetLife, supra, at p. 14.
[4]  Id., p. 24.
[5]  Kathryn Alfisi, “Breaking the Silence on Elder Abuse,” Washington Lawyer, February 2015.  (A-52 to A-53, quote at A-53). See also
[6]  See e.g., National Center on Elder Abuse, Administration on Aging,, p.2.
[7]  Id.
[8]  Denver Human Services, supra.
[9]  “Adult Abuse Defined,” DC Department of Human Services, as of January 25, 2016.  See, (A-54).
[10]  See Prop. 106 in its entirety, at
[11]  The drugs used for assisted suicide in Oregon and Washington include Secobarbital and Pentobarbital (Nembutal), which are water and alcohol soluble, such that they can be injected without consent.  See "Secobarbital Sodium Capsules, Drugs.Com, at and  See also Oregon’s government report, page 6, attached to Dr. Toffler's Declaration at A-35 (listing these drugs).
[12]  Alex Schadenberg, Letter to the Editor, “Elder abuse a growing problem,” The Advocate, Official Publication of the Idaho State Bar, October 2010, page 14, available at