Although drug abuse awareness ads and public service announcements typically target teens and younger adults, drug abuse does occur with older ones as well.
Drug abuse and addiction is a growing problem as the Baby Boomer generation ages. According to experts, many of these baby boomers who are mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, and even grandfathers and grandmothers are lifelong drug users who may be dependent on many different illegal drugs. A recent report looks at the problem and how more treatment will be required for an increasing number of adults.
A Growing Generation of Drug Users
According to a recent report published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the percentage of older Americans who are using illicit drugs is on the rise. It found that 4.7% of adults in the US that are 50 years or older used illegal drugs during the past year. It is a number that represents an increase from previous years and is predicted to be on the rise, due to the history of drug usage by adults in that generation.
Marijuana is the illegal drug that is most abused by the over 50 crowd, but prescription drug abuse is a growing concern as well. The report discovered that in the male 50 to 54 age category, 8.5% of men used marijuana in the past month of the study. 3.9% of women in the same group also had used marijuana.
Some older adults today never quit using drugs during their life and their abuse followed them to this day. Prescription drugs were the easy choice for them to pick up, due to the ease in which it is obtained and used. Instead of smoking a joint, they simply take pain medication or sleep pills that are not prescribed to them for medicinal purposes. The prescription drugs most abused by Baby Boomers vary, but usually include Valium,Vicodin, OxyContin, Ambien, and Dexedrine.
In addition, alcohol is still widely abused by older adults. Experts feel it is the “king of abused substances”, due to the social acceptability, ease of purchasing, and familiarity. Alcoholism is a problem for all ages, but is especially difficult for older adults. It is very difficult for younger family members to know what to say to an older family member who needs treatment for alcoholism.
A Need for More Treatment Services as Generation Ages
Because of these findings, SAMHSA feels that the demand for alcoholism and addiction treatment services could possibly double in the next decade and strain an existing treatment system that could be unprepared. It feels that more prevention programs are required, not only for older adults, but for users of all ages. There is a need to establish improved screening services and to refer these patients to the appropriate treatment during routine health care services. In addition, better support services will be desired to assist those needing to get themselves clean.
Get Help Today Instead of Waiting
If you feel you have a problem, dependency, or addiction, there are treatment options available for you today, no matter what your age. You can get yourself clean today and receive treatment for whatever substance you may be abusing or dependent on. Do not delay any further, because there are many more that will need help in the near future and treatment options will dwindle. Call us today at (949) 612-2210 to get started and to have your questions answered.