Baby boomers are becoming the Hooked Generation. State and federal statistics show that the number of people in their fifties and early sixties reporting drug use and addiction increased in the past ten years. This is a significant problem.
“We can’t ignore that older adults are using harder substances, that we are seeing increases in emergency room visits where people present with drug abuse,” said Gayathri Dowling, acting chief of the science policy branch at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “But when we think about these addictions, we tend to think about younger people. Nobody thinks to ask older people about substance abuse, and that includes their physicians.”
According to Nova Southeastern University in Davie, the number of Floridians between 51 and 60 who entered addiction treatment programs increased 37 percent between 2001 and 2011, with 4,818 people admitted last year. Boomers now comprise about 19 percent of all treatment admissions for drugs like Valium and Xanax. There were 681 Floridians between the ages of 45 and 54, and 315 between the ages of 55 and 64, who died from accidental drug overdoses in 2010. That is almost double the deaths for the younger boomer group in 2002 and four times for the older group.