Growing older is never easy, particularly as we reach the age of retirement, watching friends and family pass, becoming less active and experiencing an overwhelming sense of irrelevancy. This experience has become a reality for many older adults as nearly 80 million baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, reach late middle age. Although some older adults look forward to growing older and slowing down, many others struggle and frequently turn to alcohol, prescription medications and other forms of drugs to cope.
In fact, baby boomers are becoming the second largest drug abusers in our society-next to youths with the highest rates of any generation. According to an analysis on mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected on accidental death rates due to drug overdoses for people aged 45 through 64 - rates have dramatically increased since 2010 - as older adults (baby boomers) started to fill this age group. The growth rate of substance abuse has been the largest of any other generation to date.
The reality is that older adults are abusing alcohol and drugs at an increasing and alarming rate, leaving U.S. health officials seriously concerned and older adults suffering the consequences. According to a recent analytical study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), older adults reported as abusing drugs aged from 50 - 59 between 2002-2007 has nearly doubled to almost 10% of the population of that age group, while rates among all other age groups stayed the same statistically.
More than 12,000 boomers died of accidental drug overdoses in 2013 - the most recent data available from SAMHSA - with opiates being the most often used drug involved in overdoses, followed by anti-anxiety drugs, cocaine and heroin.
This is a trend that is and will continue to affect all of us in our respective communities. At The Retreat we have seen the impact of the rise in baby boomer drug addiction. Our Older Adult program and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings specifically tailored for older adults has grown significantly over the past few years. Which makes us wonder and we ask to you, “How is the rise in drug abuse among older adults affecting your community?”
For More Information on Our Older Adult Program Download Our FREE Brochure!