The Silent Issue: Senior Drug Abuse

Drug abuse is becoming a bigger issue than ever before, and not just illegal narcotics like cocaine or heroine, but prescription drugs, specifically opioids. Data shows that the rate of senior drug abuse and addiction is on the rise, and while there are many causes, there are also many ways to deal with it.

According to the Prevention Tactics report, “prescription drug abuse is present in 12 to 15% of elderly individuals who seek medical attention. An issue in recognising the problem is that the symptoms mirror that of the general health issues that come with aging. And many seniors develop their addiction or dependency over time, starting with a prescription from a doctor many times. Commonly prescribed drugs that seniors become addicted to include:

  • Opiods: primarily used to treat ongoing or intense pain. Include:
    • Oxycodone
    • Hydrocodone
    • Morphine
    • Codine
    • Hydromorphone
    • fentanyl
  • Benzodiazepines: primarily used to treat afflictions such as anxiety, insomnia, and panic disorders. Include:
    • Valium
    • Xanax
    • Ativan
    • Klonopin
Senior opiod crisis

Another common issue that seniors face is alcohol abuse. As alcohol is considered socially acceptable, issues can take time to recognize and are sometimes difficult to approach and correct. Alcohol can have many long lasting negative effects on major organs like the liver and kidneys, as well as lead to emotional damage to mental well being and relationships.

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one please speak with your doctor about treatment and care options and learn as much as you can about addiction and drug abuse. Or call us today at 1-866-982-2737 and speak with some about setting up an at home care assessment today.

Additional Resources:

Alcohol and Drug Information Referral Services BC (Vancouver)


Evergreen Senior’s Addictions Program

604-872-2511 | Ext. 3620

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