Hospitalizations for drug abuse is increasing among the elderly

October 26, 2010 by  
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Grandpa sniffing coke? Grandma gulping down cough syrup? Sounds ridiculous but it cna be true.

Drug abuse is not restricted only to the young. While young people are getting more and more into prescription drug abuse (see previous post on National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month), many of the older generation are still hooked on illicit drugs and trying out OTC drug abuse at the same time. In fact, a recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) shows that rate of hospitalization for drug-related conditions among Americans aged 45 years old and older is increasing.  The report cited three main types of drug-related conditions that led to hospitalizations in this age group:

But it is not only the middle-aged who are abusing substances. Even senior citizens above 65– our grandpas and grandmas- are also involved

The study revealed the following statistics:

The trend found by the AHRQ study was disturbing because it is assumed that adolescents who abuse drugs mature and outgrow the need to try to new and exciting things. And as they grow, they also become wiser and more sensible. Yet, the age distribution of drug abusers seems to be changing, with a tendency to increase with increasing age. The reasons  for this are not fully understood and need to be addressed by more studies.

It is, however, important to inform people that drug abuse is dangerous and can kill. AHRQ describes the most common drug-related conditions:

  • Drug-induced delirium or dementia can be caused by sleeping pills as well as drugs for urinary incontinence, nausea and other problems common in the elderly, but doctors sometimes cannot identify the cause.
  • Poisoning by pain medicines or other drugs containing codeine, meperidine or other opiates can be caused by accidental overdosing or the failure to recognize the drug’s active ingredient.
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4 Responses to “Hospitalizations for drug abuse is increasing among the elderly”
  1. Jamie says:

    We studied the adolescent drug abuse but we forgot that the older generation has problems too and they need something to help them in that particular difficult moment, and then the drug problem appear. My sister worked in several drug rehab centers Washington and she told me that drugs are used by mature generations when they want to “disconnect” themselves just for a brief period from their everyday problems.

  2. Trey Gajeski says:

    I am glad to be a visitor of this utter site, regards for this rare information!

  3. Jamie Abels says:

    The drug problem is not a youth problem anymore. My brother who works at Alabama drug rehab center told me that the number of people from older generation is increasing every year. I understand the experimentation trend for the young generation but there are some other reasons for older ones. I hope that some investigation will be made to in order to solve this problem.

  4. Andrew Biggs says:

    Hospitalization for drug abuse is increasing in every year,and there are a lot of old people taking long term drug rehab treatments. Drug abuse ruin peoples lives and even cause death. I think that old people increase drinking after they retire; they drink because of loneliness, in response to life events such as the death of a spouse, etc.

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