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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Baby Boomers Abuse of Drugs and Alcohol

The rate of illicit drug use is going up in the 50-59 age group; this group includes America's Baby Boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964. The Baby Boomers' abuse of drugs(both legal and illegal) and alcohol has been increasing in the United States. This becomes more apparent as people in this age bracket need to see doctors for other ailments and request pain medication. Woodstock may have ended 40 years ago but the party has stayed the same for many who were young adults at that time. "The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported Wednesday that rates of illegal drug use by the older generation have doubled in recent years." Statistics are showing that people age 50 to 59 who admit to using illicit drugs in the past year nearly doubled from 5.1% in 2002 to 9.4% in 2007 while rates among all other age groups are the same or decreasing. The use of drugs and alcohol by people at that age will no doubt add to increased hospitalization in the coming years. "These findings show that many in the Woodstock generation continue to use illicit drugs as they age," said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Eric Broderick. "This continued use poses medical risks to these individuals and is likely to put further strains on the nation's health care system, highlighting the value of preventing drug use from ever starting."

The information used in the study came from various surveys including 16,656 men and women participating in the 2002 through 2007 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. On top of illegal drugs there are many who use pharmaceuticals as well; the CDC states that "of 2.4 billion drugs mentioned in patients' medical records in 2005, 118 million were antidepressants. High blood pressure drugs followed, with 113 million and arthritis or headache drugs were mentioned in 110 million." I find those numbers to be staggering and a good indication that there are just as many Baby Boomers addicted to legal drugs as illegal - if not more! There are some serious issues that need to be addressed regarding this with respect to the solution. How to go about stopping a generation of people who have been using drugs in one way or another for over 40 years is not an answer that we can come to easily.

I will say that many Baby Boomers do end up recognizing the problem and check themselves into drug an alcohol treatment facilities. But drug and alcohol treatment programs typically need to be fine tuned to deal with the additional health problems that can affect the Baby Boomers age group. These problems might include hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and chronic lung problems. I am curious how you feel about this study.

People tend to start having health problems in the age group and there is no telling what effects the use of illegal drugs will have. I encourage you to watch a video called Woodstock Generation Still Getting High.

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