When we think of the words ‘addiction’ and ‘drug abuser,’ images of grandma and grandpa don’t come to mind. The elderly are often overlooked when it comes to the subject of drug misuse and abuse. However, as the baby boomers age and take various medications to counter aches and pains, the likelihood of prescription drug misuse increases.
Because aging can be hard on the body, those over the age of 65 account for 33 percent of all prescription medications dispensed in the United States. Also, since aging individuals usually take a variety of medications together to treat various ailments, the potential for dangerous or even fatal side effects increase. This combined with the fact that many elderly also suffer from memory lapse, can make the potential for overdose even worse.
With a few distinct questions, primary care physicians can make a tremendous impact on identifying which patients may have a drug or substance abuse problem, says the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). The impact can even prevent lifelong addictions or loss of life if teens are screened about their habits separate from their parents’ view during doctor’s office visits – although many primary care doctors may not yet be adequately or consistently screening patients for substance abuse.
06 Feb 2011
People are complex beings. They are more than just a physical body. Yet the body is more than simply a vessel for the mind, and it is difficult to disentangle emotions from mind and body. What about a person’s spirit – where and how does that fit into the human equation? When a person is ready to overcome an addiction, each of these parts will need healing and recovery.
The proportion of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. has reached a harrowing level – so much so that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has dubbed America’s current prescription drug situation a “public health crisis.” In 2007, drug overdoses were the second leading cause of accidental death; only car accidents claimed more lives. The deadliest drugs are opioid painkillers such as oxycodone, methadone, and hydrocodone and street drugs including cocaine and heroin.