The Next Big Thing: Substance Abuse among Aging Baby Boomers

By Arbore, Patrick | Aging Today, May/June 2012 | Go to article overview

The Next Big Thing: Substance Abuse among Aging Baby Boomers


Arbore, Patrick, Aging Today


Through my work I have heard many stories from professionals in aging services regarding older adults who continue to "party" well into their 60s. Substances used often include marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription medications and, of course, alcohol. Professionals describe not only observing this behavior in older clients, but also in their own older family members.

Something big is happening with aging and substance abuse. Are we prepared to respond?

Drug Use Set to Grow

According to the NSDUH (National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2009, www. samhsa.gov/data), rates of lifetime drug use will increase in the next two decades among the baby boom generation, probably because of a reduced stigma among the baby boom generation regarding "illicit" drug use; and because the current cohort of older adults tend to misuse alcohol and prescription medications if they misuse substances at all. As the baby boom generation ages, the cohort's size alone is predicted to double the number of persons needing treatment for substance use disorders.

The NSDUH report also shows a recent increase in illicit drug use among persons ages 50 to 59. Illicit drugs are defined as marijuana-hashish, cocaine (including crack), inhalants, hallucinogens, heroin or prescription drugs used non-medically.

A 2010 TEDS (Treatment Episode Data Set) Report indicated that older adult admissions to treatment services were still commonly related to alcohol abuse, but the data also reported a higher proportion in 2008 of older adults were admitted to treatment for cocaine, heroin or other drugs. These elders were more likely to report the abuse of multiple substances, including prescription pain relievers, than older adults admitted for treatment in 1992.

Are We Prepared to Respond?

Psychological problems, social problems and physiological issues are all associated with illicit drug use in aging baby boomers. In a 2005 report, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Among Older Americans: The State of the Knowledge and Future Directions, Bartels and colleagues said depression, anxiety disorders and dementia are among the most common psychological problems in older adults. Some older people turn to prescription medications and alcohol as a way to manage such psychological and physical pain. But the pain resurfaces and their cycle of meds and alcohol to dull the pain begins again.

When substance use and abuse are coupled with depressive symptoms, this contributes to the high rate of suicide in older adults, particularly men. A recurrent question asks whether treatment programs are prepared to address the needs of older adults who experience such health consequences. It doesn't look hopeful. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Next Big Thing: Substance Abuse among Aging Baby Boomers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.