We see the news headlines about new designer drugs for youngsters or how addicts nowadays are becoming younger and younger. Parents, school teachers, and councilors are all getting more and more worried that the child they’re in charge of might just turn to drugs to alleviate boredom or to channel their angst.
According to statistics, more than 50 percent of young adults (ages 18 above) in the US are regularly taking drugs, alcohol, or both. The thing is that a huge, forgotten percent of today’s addicts are of the baby boomer generation. Research has shown that by 2020, drug addiction among seniors is expected to triple. In the US, about 4.3 million seniors have used illicit drugs in 2012 alone. There is still no accurate percentage as a lot of baby boomers have access to drugs and can self-medicate whenever they want, thanks to prescription painkillers and other kinds of medication.
Researchers are not surprised about this sudden rise of drug-dependent seniors. Most of the time, seniors are addicted to painkillers due to everyday aches and pains thanks to good old aging. However, pain is not the only reason for addiction to certain substances. The added stress of losing loved ones, moving from one home to another, failing health, boredom, and loneliness or depression are all potential triggers for drug abuse. Benzodiazepines, opiates, morphine, marijuana, and alcohol are among the top substances that are being used and abused by the above 60 set. Add to that the fact that a lot of baby boomers think that the marijuana they used in their teens and twenties is still the marijuana of today. Today’s strains of marijuana are definitely more potent than ever.
What’s the Harm in A Little Painkiller?
For seniors with easy access to pharmaceuticals that were actually prescribed by their doctors to begin with, the downward slope could get deadly. Some would mix alcohol or marijuana with prescription drugs and this could have unwanted effects like increased or decreased blood pressure, thinning of blood, confusion, lowered immune systems, and even death.
How to Look for Warning Signs
A senior who looks more withdrawn or depressed, doesn’t want to take medication (or fails to remember when they last took medication), not eating meals, changes in normal daily habits, insomnia or other changes in sleeping habits, irritability, increased complaints of pain, frequent falls due to dizziness or confusion, and the unwillingness to be with family and friends are all warning signs for a senior with a problem that needs to be addressed.
Give the Only the Best
A lot of people, including family and friends, are torn when it comes to drug addiction treatment for seniors. Most just want to let them be while some believe that a comfortable treatment center is a better option. No matter what the decision of both loved ones and the senior involved, this issue must be handled with tact and sensitivity as this is a kind of issue that could prove to be difficult to reserve but not altogether impossible.