Drug Abuse in Adults 65+

Prescription Medication Being Abused By Adults

When we think of drug addiction, we often associate it with the younger generation. An increasing number of adults over the age of 65 are abusing prescription drugs such as opioids. There are detrimental repercussions of abusing these prescription drugs as the older generation is at an increased risk of complications when not using drugs as prescribed.

Many doctors and physicians do not completely understand the risks involved when drug interactions occur in older adults. It’s important that doctors work to treat the foundation of the problem rather than simply treating the symptoms. When just the symptoms are treated, further health complications are a result.

An increasing number of adults over the age of 65 are abusing their prescription drugs. Many of the drugs that older individuals are prescribed are sedatives and painkillers which has a ‘feel good’ effect on the body and the mind. When these drugs are not taken as prescribed and are abused, serious consequences may arise.

Inter-dose withdrawal is common among adults who take prescription drugs and occurs when drugs such as opioids and benzo’s are taken together. The interaction of these two classes of drugs can cause one to experience withdrawal symptoms, such as becoming tired and unwell, when they do not take the drugs.

The Dangers of Drug Interactions

There are countless dangers of mixing drugs with one another. Since older individuals are more likely to be on medications, it can be easy to mix, either intentionally or unintentionally. If they are on a medication that makes them forgetful, they may not realize that they had taken a pill, therefore, take another prescribed medication resulting in adverse effects. This can create major health problems which can be detrimental to one’s health.

Even if medications are non-addictive, they can still pose a huge problem if they are taken and interact with other medications. For example, if a basic beta blocker is taken, which makes people drowsy, they may trip and fall and perhaps break a bone. If this happens, more prescription medications may be prescribed which only makes issues worse.

There is a growing problem surrounding doctors prescribing medications that act as a band-aid method. Layers of prescribed medications only fuel the drug issues that the individual is already faced with and simply creates more problems.

Overdoses in Adults

Although rarely brought to the forefront, many adults over the age of 65 lose their lives to drug overdoses every single year. Fatal overdoses can easily occur if prescription drugs are not diligently taken as prescribed and this is especially true for adults who take more than one prescription medication. As humans age, our bodies become more sensitive and susceptible to drugs. What may not cause an overdose in a younger individual, may indeed cause an overdose in an older individual.

If you are prescribed more than one prescription drug from your doctor, it’s important that you ensure the medications can be taken without adverse effects. Your doctor will explain to you certain medications that should not interact with the drug and individuals will have to ensure that they follow proper guidelines in order to mitigate problems down the line.

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescription-drugs/what-scope-prescription-drug-misuse

https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/abuse-prescription-rx-drugs-affects-young-adults-most

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.