A Drug Statistic many Do Not Know: Elderly People in Treatment for Drugs is Rising
When most people think about addicts their first instinct is to picture someone younger. The teen years to mid twenties is the age group we typically see targeted by the war on drugs and many “Just Say No” campaigns. What many fail to realize is that the number of elderly people in treatment for drugs is rising.
A recent study of OAPs (Old Age Pensioners) in the United Kingdom shows that the number of pensioners addicted to drugs has risen 20% since last year and doubled since 2009. Of 70,000 adults needing drug treatment nearly 634 are of pension age. Men are twice as more likely to develop a habit than women. What may come as even more of a shock is that many are addicted to hard drugs. Heroin and crack are the drugs of choice to many OAPs, while others are abusing cocaine, amphetamines, tranquilizers, solvents, and even sleeping pills.
Many are thought to have dabbled in drugs for the first time during the Sixties when they would have been around age 20 or 30. The cycle of abuse has continued on for decades due to the fact that many have been in methadone programs in a bid to help them with their problems and have been “parked” on the drug with little probability of curing their addiction.
Another issue facing these elderly users is the fact that their bodies are less able to cope with the addiction and withdrawal symptoms when quitting and therefore they need more help then someone who is younger. According to David Raynes of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, “We have let these people down because we have not made enough effort to get them off of drugs. They need a lot of support, which is expensive to try to get them off drugs.” Some addicts have developed issues later in life to cope with life experiences such as isolation, death, and loneliness. They turn to alcohol and prescription drugs to help make it day to day, dealing with different issues.
The most important thing to keep in mind is prevention and knowing what to look for. Health and social care professionals who are working regularly with these OAPs need to be able to spot the signs and symptoms and get them the help that they need as soon as an issue is made apparent. While the number of elderly people in treatment for drugs is rising, if someone you know struggles with addiction, whether they be younger or elderly, it is important to get them the help that they need right away. Contact us at once to begin the road to healing.