Drug overdose deaths amongst seniors have greater than tripled in 2 many years


Deaths from drug and alcohol use are rising amongst America’s seniors.

Drug overdose deaths greater than tripled amongst folks age 65 and older through the previous 20 years whereas deaths from alcohol abuse elevated greater than 18% from 2019 to 2020, in accordance with information printed Wednesday by the Nationwide Middle for Well being Statistics.

Greater than 800,000 seniors suffered from drug dependancy and a pair of.7 million suffered from alcohol dependancy in 2020, in accordance with separate information from the Well being and Human Providers Division.

In complete, greater than 5,000 seniors died of drug overdoses in 2020 and greater than 11,600 succumbed to alcohol, in accordance with the NCHS information. Although drug overdose demise charges are decrease for seniors than different age teams, they’ve elevated considerably from 2.4 per 100,000 in 2000 to eight.8 per 100,000 in 2020.

“We have got a public well being drawback coming at our door — these tendencies have been rising for a very long time now,” mentioned Alexis Kuerbis, a professor on the Silberman Faculty of Social Work and an skilled on substance use amongst older adults.

Seniors at this time are child boomers, a era that had a way more open angle towards medication and alcohol than their mother and father, Kuerbis mentioned. Some child boomers have carried alcohol and drug habits from their youth and center age into their later years when their our bodies are now not in a position to tolerate them, she mentioned.

“Child boomers clearly are very totally different era than the silent era or the World Battle II era,” Kuerbis mentioned. “Child boomers had been much more open to utilizing alcohol and medicines throughout their youthful years but in addition via their middle-aged years and now they’re older adults,” she mentioned.

Deaths from fentanyl and different artificial opioids elevated 53% amongst seniors from 2019 to 2020, in accordance with the info. Kuerbis mentioned there’s some proof to recommend individuals who had been prescribed opioids of their center age for an harm later switched to fentanyl as soon as it grew to become tougher to get a prescription.

In case you are having suicidal ideas or are in misery, contact the Suicide & Disaster Lifeline at 988 for help and help from a educated counselor.

Whereas some drug deaths amongst seniors are from unintentional misuse of medicine, many are suicides from overdosing on opioids, Kuerbis mentioned. Though seniors are usually happier than youthful adults, additionally they have a better prevalence of continual ache, terminal sickness and dementia, she mentioned.

Some older adults additionally use medication or alcohol to deal with main life modifications comparable to retirement, grief and loss, or a change of their residing scenario, in accordance with the Nationwide Institute of Drug Abuse.

Drug overdose deaths had been highest amongst Black seniors. The demise fee from medication amongst Black males ages 65 to 74 was greater than 4 instances increased than Hispanic or white males in that age group, in accordance with the info. Black girls ages 65 to 74 died extra typically from drug overdoses than white and Hispanic girls. White girls older than 75 had a better demise fee from medication than Black and Hispanic girls.

Alcohol deaths had been highest amongst American Indian seniors adopted by Hispanics, white People, Black People and Asian People, in accordance with the info.

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