substance abuse among the elderly

Topics: Retirement, Sociology, Gerontology Pages: 5 (1856 words) Published: December 1, 2013
James Gibson
Intro- Sociology 110
Ms. Willingham
Substance Abuse among the Elderly
There seem to be a problem growing in our society today that is affecting our Elderly, which is substance abuse. The baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 which are reaching the retirement age seem to be the rising population in treatment centers in the United States. The reason this is an important subject is simple; the elderly people whom I’m talking about are dying from overdose of prescription and non-prescription drugs, also someone’s mother or farther. Inasmuch, it is also costing a great deal of money to treat them, and also very profitable. What is causing the elderly to use drugs at such a high rate and at a really late stage in their lives? There is not just one variable in this matter I think it is a combination of variables that play a part in the use of substance abuse.

When a person gets to retirement age, they seem not to be able to function in their normal routine which causes some older people to fall into a state of depression. Not only depression but a sense lost loneliness and even aging pains. The word Anomie means, a lack of purpose. Anomie is the primary variable that drive the elderly to seek out a way to medicate these feelings Many older adults also have prescriptions for medications and use OCT (over-the-counter) medications which many times are used inappropriately. Sometimes this is done accidentally and other times, not. It is very common for older adults to accidentally misuse prescription drugs and medications that are purchased over the counter. Misuse of over the counter drugs is common place when referring to the elderly, taking medications that can't be combined with prescription drugs like pain pills is very dangerous. Many cough and cold medications are dangerous when mixing them with certain prescription drugs or alcohol. Many times an older person will take more than the recommended dose and also take it too often. Often times, innocently abusing controlled prescription drugs and over the counter medications results in emergency department visits due to the dangerous and serious reactions to mixing drugs and overdosing on over the counter medications. Reactions to medications that are misused can cause the person to lose coordination and fall breaking weakened bones and hips. (

There are certain medicines that help the elderly be able to function in their daily lives. What typically ends up happening is that the elderly will be prescribed certain medicines in which they will abuse overtime. At first they will obtain the medicine to help them out for their intended purposes, then after a while the body will get immune to the medicine that the individual is taking at that point in time.

When the elderly feel like they have no one else to turn too, they try to obtain a high off of prescription pills or to abuse alcohol. It is easier for an elderly person to abuse prescription medication because they have easy access to this type of substance, but when it comes to any other type of substance such as marijuana and cocaine, the elderly will definitely have a harder time finding someone who is willing to sell those drugs because of their age factor. A drug dealer may suspect that they are being set up if someone older than 60 asks them for the substance that they are selling. That is why so many elderly use prescription drugs because in the eases of getting the drugs, and most doctors are willing because they know that they do suffer from aging pains and even the elderly that seek something more like marijuana and cocaine they have a steady income to supply their addiction that is why it is hard to see the effects of the drugs on the elderly because you cannot see the unmanageability of their lives because most every things is paid...

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