Baby Boomers Cause Massive Increases in Drug Abuse Statistics for Retirees
The number of people between the ages of 50 and 59 who abuse illicit drugs has more than doubled in the last decade. It’s a fact that is shocking to many mostly because the stereotype of an active drug addict rarely includes someone closing in on retirement with grandchildren.
This generation is the baby boom generation, however, and many attribute the rise in illicit drug use in the US to this generation’s exploits with different substances of abuse during the 60s and 70s. In fact, experts are predicting a continued rise in substance abuse for this age group as the baby boomers were far more apt to have used drugs during their younger years than any generation before them. Current research is finding that individuals who used drugs in their teens and early 20s are far more likely to have problems with substance abuse throughout their adult years.
Older Adults Are Flocking to Drug Rehab in Increasing Numbers
Some experts believe that part of the problem is the public’s perception of drug abuse; people think it’s an issue primarily for the young. This causes a lack of education and intervention targeted at the older generation that currently needs help. With a lack of screening and prevention aimed to help the baby boomer population, it is no wonder that the number of those living with addiction in this age group continues to grow. For example, since 2001, the number of individuals between the ages of 51 and 60 entering state-funded drug treatment in Florida has increased by an astounding 37 percent.
Prescription Drug Abuse Is a Piece of the Puzzle for Drug Abuse in Older Adults
It is not just that the baby boomers had too much fun during the ‘Summer of Love’ and can’t stop abusing drugs. Their generation is also the first to face aging with unprecedented access to a variety of addictive drugs being prescribed by their doctors – oftentimes, without proper patient education or appropriate guidelines in place, which can lead to addiction. Legislators are now working to put safety measures in place to help both doctors and patients play a role in reining in the prescription drug epidemic, but in the meantime, baby boomers need to remain educated about their medications and get help at the first sign of dependency.
Do you think baby boomers have been caught in a sandwich of drug use? They faced an explosion of recreational drug abuse in their early years and now reach retirement age with the prescription drug problems of today. What do you think should happen to help this generation avoid drug dependence during their “golden years”? Leave us a comment below and share your thoughts.