Prescription drug abuse has taken the country by storm in the past few years. It’s hit everyone hard — even people you would never expect to need addiction treatment. One such group is senior citizens. As more seniors are checking into drug rehab facilities, this hidden epidemic is being brought to light.
Prescription Drug Abuse Among Seniors: The Hidden Epidemic
Prescription drug abuse is epidemic because it’s a large problem, and it’s hidden because it is harder to detect in senior citizens. The signs of drug abuse that most people are familiar with are fatigue, apathy, and forgetfulness. However, these aren’t unlike the way most people behave as they grow old.
Prescription Drug Abuse Among Seniors: The Facts & Statistics
- 2.8 million, about 20% of senior citizens, have substance abuse problems (according to the New York Times)
- It is estimated that 5.7 million will have substance abuse problems by 2020 (almost double what it is now)
- From 1992 to 2008, drug rehab center admissions for ages 50+ increased by 125%
- Alcohol is most common drug of abuse for seniors
- However, the rate of prescription drug abuse among seniors more than doubled from 2002 to 2013
Why Is Prescription Drug Abuse Among Seniors a Problem?
- Senior Citizens are the Most Heavily Medicated Demographic: Senior citizens take more prescription drug medications than any other group. They are not only medicated, but also often overmedicated. About 30% take 5 or more drugs per day. With overmedication comes prescription drug abuse and eventually addiction.
- Boredom & Depression: It’s also important to recognize where senior citizens are in their lives. They are retired and their children have moved out. Many friends have passed away, and often spouses have died as well. It makes sense that these conditions make for a lonely and depressing life, which often leads to prescription drug abuse.
What You Can Do About Senior Prescription Drug Abuse
When it comes to getting help and finding a rehab, no one is a lost cause — especially not seniors. Everyone deserves a chance to recover. If you suspect that your loved one has been abusing prescription medications or any other drugs, call to get help immediately. the most important thing you can do for them is seek help and allow them to get well. Call Recovery Hub today.