Drug use is on the rise among the baby boomer generation. According to the Wall Street Journal, baby boomers are among the 76 million that are the most at risk to be active in addiction to alcohol and drugs right now.
Baby Boomer Generation At Risk
When it comes to the baby boomer generation using drugs, they are just as susceptible to the serious consequences of substance use disorders as any other individual, which can include drug charges and even death due to overdose. “Generally, we thought of older individuals of not having a risk for drug abuse and drug addiction,” says Dr. Wilson Compton, who works as deputy director for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “As the baby boomers have aged and brought their habits with them into middle age, and now into older adult groups, we are seeing marked increases in overdose deaths.”
New statistics show that the baby boomer generation is showing an increase in drug abuse issues. According to the Wall Street Journal, 50% had abused some type of illegal drug in their lifetime, 36% went into treatment for heroin abuse, 22% admitted to abusing crack, 12% had used an opioid, and 10% had abused methamphetamines. With these alarming numbers, Dr. Richard Miech, who teaches at the University of Michigan, reported how individuals born during the baby boomer generation had more than doubled their chance of dying due to a drug overdose in comparison to the silent generation, which preceded them, and were an approximate 1.67 times likely as generation x, which followed them.
Children act as trigger
Addiction professional, Jamie Huysman, who works as a clinical adviser at Caron Treatment Centers in Pennsylvania, explained what she believed to be one of major factors, “If you have a trigger, and your youth is caught up in that Woodstock mentality, you’re going to revert back. We were pretty conditioned that we could be rebellious, that we could take drugs, and so this is how we respond today.” Although becoming triggered by children’s experimentation with illicit substances and growing to be once again allured by the romanticization of past memories of previous drug culture can be overwhelming, there are other ways to be enticed and thrown back into a substance use disorder like addiction.
Reverting back to former marijuana use
The main reason that the baby boomer generation is being noted as susceptible to substance issues like addiction, is that they are being placed on prescription pain medications like Vicodin for pain. A typical scenario for individuals in this generation is that they end up hurting themselves in some way (broken bones, back pulls, surgery, etc.), which result in one or more pain medication prescriptions. Another concern is that these medications are also being prescribed to elderly people to help them deal with misdiagnosed mental health disorders, like depression, and are used as a means to cope with their emotions. Long-term use of any drug that alters the chemicals of the brain can ultimately be abused – even if the user is unaware. This is also why it makes it difficult for elderly people to recognize they are abusing drugs, especially if they have never had a drug abuse problem in the past.
Understanding addiction is a disease that does not discriminate, and how it affects age groups like the baby boomer generation, is vital for breaking the stigma on the illness and ultimately treating it. This is essential in order for society to be able to grasp the fact that addiction is rapidly increasing in all age categories, including our elderly.
Are you stuck in active addiction and feeling scared unsure about where to turn? The Watershed is a leading addiction treatment facility that wants to help you recover from your addiction, so call today. It’s never too late, no matter what age you are. Call now: 1-800-861-1768.Tags: baby boomer generation, drug, drug addiction, Drug Use, elderly addiction