This Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report is important to read.
“Illicit drug use generally declines as individuals move through young adulthood and into middle adulthood. Although the percentage of people with substance use disorder (SUD) reflects the decline in use as people age, more than 1 million individuals aged 65 or older (“older adults”) had an SUD in 2014, including 978,000 older adults with an alcohol use disorder and 161,000 with an illicit drug use disorder.
Research suggests that substance use is an emerging public health issue among the nation’s older adults. Illicit drug use among adults aged 50 or older is projected to increase from 2.2 percent to 3.1 percent between 2001 and 2020. For example, the number of older Americans with SUD is expected to rise from 2.8 million in 2002–2006 to 5.7 million by 2020. The emergence of SUD as a public health concern among older adults reflects, in part, the relatively higher drug use rates of the baby boom generation (people born between 1946 and 1964) compared with previous generations. Thus, there is a cohort of older adults who may experience the negative consequences of substance use, including physical and mental health issues, social and family problems, involvement with the criminal justice system, and death from drug overdose. Older adults are more likely than people in other age groups to have chronic health conditions and to take prescription medication, which may further complicate adverse effects of substance use.
Click here to continue reading this Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) Report.