Senior Drug Addiction: The Frightening New Phenomenon

Packaging of Pills and Capsules

When people hear the words drug addiction, they think of teenagers experimenting at parties. But addiction can happen in anyone in any walk of life, and seniors can be at heightened risk due to polypharmacy.

The war against drugs is unfortunately decades old, but the main substances involved in this battle are no longer just cocaine, LSD, and other ‘street’ drugs. One of the most common causes of addiction these days is prescription drug abuse.

Older adults are at higher risk of becoming dependent to drugs because they are more likely to experience health problems and take prescription medications. Many people seek drug addiction treatment in Utah.

76% of Seniors 60+ are Taking a Prescription Drug

According to the CDC, about 76% of Americans aged 60 and above take two or more prescription drugs and 37% are taking five or more. Polypharmacy or taking multiple medications occurs more frequently with age. Inadequately controlled pain can also drive a person to take excessive medication in an effort to relieve their discomfort.

One in Four Older Women Take Anti-Depressants

Depression is also common, as older people deal with declining health and issues such as divorce and loss of work. Because of this and the increasing trend towards medication, one in four women aged between 50 and 64 take anti-depressants. Psychoactive drugs, as well as opiates, are highly addictive.

By 2012, 336,000 seniors were hooked on painkillers. Between 2007 and 2011, there was a 46% rise in the number of seniors seeking substance abuse treatment, as well as a 50% increase in ER visits due to drug misuse.

Dependency can creep up on people as their body becomes tolerant to the medication and then they fell that they have to take more to achieve the same effect. If this has happened to you and you would like to get treatment, inquire at one of the rehab centers in Utah.