Reaching a New High — Older Americans and Drug Abuse

The excesses of the Baby Boomer generation are starting to show up at the door of U.S. treatment programs, which saw admissions of patients ages 50 and older almost double between 1992 and 2008. Patients over age 50 comprised 12.2 percent of all treatment admissions in 2008, up from 6.6 percent in 1992. Admissions for heroin use among this age group more than doubled, cocaine admissions quadrupled, and significant increases in older Americans seeking treatment for prescription drugs and marijuana also were reported. More older Americans also are reporting problems with multiple substances, including alcohol, illicit drugs, and prescription medications. (Source: Join Together Newsletter, Boston Univ. School of Public Health, 6/21/10)