Illicit Drug Use and Excessive Drinking by Older Americans Expected to Grow
Authored by Vlad Grubyy
The number of older Americans who drink excessively is up 42 percent and their use of illicit drugs is now higher than in almost any other country in the world and is expected to grow substantially in both number and proportion.
Substance use disorders among people older than 50 years are projected to increase from about 2.8 million in 2006 to 5.7 million in 2020, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Substantial evidence indicates that substance use among older adults — also known as the baby boomer generation whose last members are now comfortably over the age of fifty — has been underidentified for decades.
According to the Vice President of Clinical Services for one of the largest addiction treatment center networks in the nation, at Recovery Centers of America (“RCA”) 25 percent of patients receiving treatment for drug and alcohol addictions are over fifty years of age.