We need to get in front of this terrible opioid outbreak,” and efforts are paying off slowly but surely, the district attorney said. “I think we are getting ahead of it, finally,” he added.
Next, his office is going to have to also deal with enforcement issues related to a “new” drug – recreational marijuana – with retail sales slated to start in Massachusetts in July. “I was against it, like most other district attorneys,” Cruz said of the adult recreational use referendum approved by voters two years ago. “We lost that fight.”
Now, law enforcement has to figure out how to detect “drugged driving” without a device like a Breathalyzer, or a requirement for field sobriety tests for drivers who are suspected of being impaired by marijuana.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge for law enforcement” to keep drug-impaired drivers off the roads, he predicted.
The county’s top law enforcement official also talked about the latest consumer fraud scams targeting seniors, such as robbers who target homes where residents may be at wakes or funerals, or scour social media posts or newspaper accounts that tell everyone of special vacation plans or day trips. Be careful that home addresses aren’t provided in funeral notices, or published obituaries, Cruz warned.
The “jury duty scam” begins with a caller advising you there is a warrant for your arrest because you missed jury duty, he said. The caller will ask for your address and Social Security number to ensure you are the guilty party, and say it was mistaken identity and hang up once they get your personal information, he explained.
Never give personal information such as a bank account number or Social Security number out over the phone, or via email if it is not a guaranteed secure link, Cruz stressed. “Hold your personal information close,” he advised, and “go slow... do not be bullied or pushed by someone on the phone trying to get information from you.”
As for scams and fraud attempts in general, the district attorney urged the application of common sense in all situations. “If something seems too good to be true, like winning the lottery, it is” too good to be true, he stressed. “Just be careful,” whether it’s a phone caller or a gypsy contractor knocking on your door offering to fix your driveway for an absurdly low price, he suggested.
There are also a few other things the district attorney’s office does that you may not know about... like the File of Life cards for refrigerator, pocket, or purse, providing seniors’ vital medical and contact information to first responders who might find a senior unconscious or unresponsive.
Or, providing breathalyzers and operators to school districts on prom night, ensuring youngsters who have been drinking won’t disrupt the evening, or get behind the steering wheel again that night. Or, sending speakers out to talk about elder abuse, crimes against seniors, and other relevant issues to county residents.
“We do these preventative programs to stop things before they happen” to good people of all ages, Cruz said.
Talking to seniors is one part of the job he thinks is especially important, because “we” are among the most vulnerable segments of society, he suggested. He included himself in the “we” reference, he said, “because I’m a senior too.”