Hello, everyone.

I wasn't sure which forum to post in since my problem involves both addiction and elderly caregiving. So here it goes:

My mother has been bed-ridden for 9 years and my father had been taking care of her. He's been diagnosed with multiple cancers and can no longer provide care. I moved back in a few months ago to help them. It's been difficult to say the least, especially since my younger brother moved back in as well to "help out".

To be blunt, my brother is an opportunistic and violent con man who has had many problems with drugs & alcohol. He doesn't work, is on probation and always has his hand out for money. He expects my parents to pay him for even the simplest chore. If they refuse, his violent side erupts and they end up giving him the money anyway.

One of my mother's many prescriptions is oxycontin. She's been on them for years and during that time, many have gone missing, usually after one of my brother's visits. Now that he's living in the house though, they're disappearing on a regular basis. No one has ever actually seen him steal them and he usually blames my mother for "being so high that she can't keep track of her pills".

Everything came to a head Thanksgiving night. My mother discovered that morning that she didn't have enough pills to get her through the day. Come that evening, she was going into withdrawal. My brother burst into my room yelling that mom was sick and could i go get her a bag of heroin. I even heard my mom crying from her room, "Please get it! I think I'm going to die!"

That's bad enough, right? What makes it even worse is that I am a former heroin addict with 14 years clean under my belt and my family knows this. I was never tempted by the pills in the house. But that request brought a flood of feelings that I thought I conquered years ago. I was able to deal with them and ultimately refused to do it. It killed me to watch my mother go through withdrawal, but eventually my brother found a pill dealer and got more pills that way.

We've called the police in the past, but without evidence that he stole the pills, they can't do anything. And the attempts by my parents to throw him out never work because they're too weak to enforce anything. He leaves for a night then comes right back as if nothing happened. The few times I tried to keep him out myself resulted in violent fights.

It's clear that this is a toxic environment. I feel totally disrespected that I was asked to buy heroin. I gave up a big part of my life to move back in and care for them and now I've got to deal with this. So here's my dilemma: should I leave to protect myself (which means leaving my parents in the incapable hands of my brother because they can't afford home health care) or do I stay and risk more temptation??

Please, any advice would be helpful. Thank you.

~ Vladia