Sunday, December 4, 2011

Seniors and Drug Abuse

Free time can kill you.

"When retirement is bereft of fulfilling activities, some people turn to drugs to fill the void," according to Dr. Fred Blow of the Hanley Center.

As of December, 2009, 4.3 million adults 50+ had used an illicit drug within the prior year. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service, a federal agency) reports that "the number of boomers with substance abuse problems will be 5 million by 2020."

Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance. Prescription medication and marijuana abuse is also climbing significantly.

Director of the Dartmouth Centers for Health & Aging, Dr. Steve Bertels, reported that "older adults who may be abusing marijuana, cocaine, or other drugs are sensitive to smaller amounts than when they were younger..Substance abuse in an older adult mimics many of the signs of aging. It causes memory loss, cognitive problems, tremors and falls" so it's hard to recognize.

Many boomers seem to feel that if there is something wrong, they'll feel better if they take a pill. "Many doctors unwittingly collude with addicts to keep them armed with pills".

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