Drug abuse among Baby Boomers and other seniors is on the rise, according to a fresh study. This is by no means a new trend, with the number of over 50s being admitted to rehab centers almost doubling from 1992 to 2008.
The number of over 50s being treated for addiction to multiple substances tripled over the same period, while treatment for individual substance abuse also dramatically increased by varying amounts across the board.
Alcohol remains the biggest issue among Boomers when it comes to drug abuse, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but other drugs, including heroin, marijuana and prescription opioids, are being abused more than ever by over 50s.
Why is Drug Abuse an Issue Among Baby Boomers?
Drug abuse is an issue for every generation, but there are a few reasons why Baby Boomers in particular are so willing to take drugs recreationally and abuse alcohol. Furthermore, there are additional risks of Boomers abusing drugs and extra challenges when it comes to treatment (as we’ll discuss later on in this article.)
It has been suggested that because Boomers were adolescents and teens in the 1960s and 1970s, a time when drug abuse was popularized and more widely accepted than it is today, they are less likely to realize that they have a drug abuse problem. Plus, some Boomers have been abusing drugs for several decades, making it even more difficult for them to get treated or even realize that they a have problem.
As for why some Boomers take drugs, it’s often a case of whatever substance they abuse offering them an escape from an unpleasant reality, such as loneliness or depression, which may or may not be related in some way to their age.
Furthermore, opioid drug abuse is especially an issue among Baby Boomers and the older crowd due to many of them being prescribed such drugs for pain arising from countless different possible conditions. This, in turn, puts them at risk of being dependent on such prescription drugs and eventually abusing them, often without anyone knowing.
Generally speaking, it’s much easier for a Boomer to overdose on a drug than a younger person, as our bodies take longer to break down a drug as we grow old. This makes it even more important for Baby Boomers to get treated as soon as possible.
Due to the rapid increase in the number of Boomers and other seniors in need of treatment for drug abuse, a number of senior-specific rehab centers and facilities have sprung up across the US in the last decade or so.
However, as mentioned, there are additional challenges when it comes to Boomers getting treated for drug abuse. These challenges mainly arise from Boomers not realizing they have a substance abuse problem, and some of them living without family to support them and encourage them to seek treatment.
Concerned About a Loved One?
If you’re concerned that a loved one may have a drug abuse problem, it’s important to try to help them as soon as possible. However, you should be as delicate as possible and focus on first making sure they realize that they have a serious but treatable problem.
You can then go through the treatment options with them and arrange a visit or a consultation with a rehab facility, or alternatively first try to tackle the addiction together without admitting them to a rehab center.
Whether or not the latter is feasible ultimately depends on how serious their addiction is and how much time and energy you are willing to spend on helping them get treated at home with your support.
A Quick Summary
- Drug abuse among Baby Boomers is on the rise across most substances, with marijuana, cocaine, heroin and prescription drugs witnessing the sharpest increases.
- Growing substance abuse among the older crowd isn’t a new trend in the US, with the number of over 50s being admitted to rehab almost doubling from 1992 to 2008.
- There are many extra challenges when it comes to treating addiction in Boomers.
- For example, Boomers are less likely to recognize that they have a problem than younger Americans, and they are usually more reluctant to get treatment or to even speak to a loved one about drug abuse.
- Due to increasing levels of addiction among Boomers, many senior-specific rehab centers have cropped up over the last decade or so.
- You may instead decide to try to kick your addiction by yourself, but this is often not the best course of action.