Drug Abuse Can Strike At Any Age
Drug abuse isn’t relegated to a youthful demographic. The public perception is that older folks have either never had a drug problem or have dealt with it in their youth and moved on. But grandparents and great-grandparents of the millennial generation are popping pills in larger numbers than ever, and it’s not over-the-counter meds, it’s illicit and prescription drugs.
Baby boomers between the age of 50 and 59 are seeing the most dramatic rise in abuse. It’s estimated that between 2002 and 2011, the abuse within that demographic tripled. The dramatic increase prompted the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create a consumer alert to draw some attention to the problem. The NIH is asking family members and doctors of baby boomers to stay alert and look for signs of abuse.
When the abuse triples, so too does the number of accidents associated with drug abuse. The NIH said that emergency room visits by persons aged 55 to 64 rose 116 percent from 2004 to 2010.
Marijuana is an illicit drug in 48 of the 50 states, so users of marijuana in those 48 states would have to answer "yes" in surveys asking if they have used illicit drugs in the last 30 days. This might be the reason why there is a two percent rise from 2010 to 2011 in the number of baby boomers who said they used an illicit drug.
The most popular retirement state has for years been Florida. Surprisingly, Florida has seen an increase in the number of emergency room visits by seniors who testing positive for cocaine use. The number nearly doubled from 2004 to 2010.
While the number of cocaine-involved emergency room visits dropped in every other demographic, baby boomers are becoming increasingly more dependent on the drug.
While some of the statistics can be alarming, therapy is just as effective for baby boomers as it is for younger generations. Still, groups looking out for the interest of older adults are asking family members to not assume that their elders are beyond any type of abuse problem. The numbers prove otherwise.