The figures were reported by the National Institute of Health and include both illegal drugs and the non-medical use of prescription drugs.
The number of Floridians aged between 51 and 60 enrolling in public-funded addiction treatment programmes has increased by 37% in the last decade.
Substances most commonly abused include Valium, Xanax and crack cocaine.
Dr. Gayathri Dowling, acting chief of the science policy branch at the National Institute of Drug Abuse said: ‘We can’t ignore that older adults are using harder substances, that we are seeing increases in emergency room visits where people present with drug abuse. But when we think about these addictions, we tend to think about younger people. Nobody thinks to ask older people about substance abuse, and that includes their physicians.’
Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) believes that the number of cases is likely to increase as the ‘baby-boomer’ generation grow older.
As people experience big changes in their lives such as retirement, bereavement, loneliness, ill health and boredom, the temptation to take drugs increases.
Drugs, prescription or otherwise, tend to have a more destructive effect on the ageing body than they do on the young and Dr. Volkow believes many people are lulled into a false sense of security because they assume medication is safe.
Any medication, even that prescribed by a doctor, can be harmful if taken in excess.
If you think you may have a problem with drugs or medication, you can always voice your concerns with a counsellor. Find out more about Drug Abuse or contact a counsellor today.
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