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Substance Abuse Among The Elderly

Decent Essays
We have witnessed enormous advances in western medicine and with it we’ve seen greater longevity among America’s elder population. The number of Americans age 65 or older are living longer, in more comfort and in better health than ever before. However, not all American elders are living in good health. As our aging baby boomers live longer, a substantial and growing percentage of older adults misuse alcohol, prescription drugs, or other substances (Bartel, Blow, Brockmann, 2005). In turn, substance abuse among the elder is generating major health concerns and a rapid need for prevention methods. Substance abuse among the elderly is a concealed epidemic in the United States. Alcohol and substance abuse often go unnoticed, unreported, and therefore, untreated in the elderly (Wagenaar, Mickus, & Wilson, 2001). It is estimated that substance abuse issues among America’s elder population will dramatically increase, because while the nation’s population will increase 18%, the proportion of the population 65 and older will increase 78% by the year 2030 (Johnson & Sung, 2009). In order to reduce this potential negative inevitability, closer attention must be dedicated to current elder substance abuse. The issue of substance abuse by this elderly population is a problem that will potentially affect many segments of society. Not only is there a critical need for clinicians to develop skills and strategies necessary to deal with the range of issues that can influence substance abuse
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