Deaths from drug and alcohol use are rising amongst America’s seniors.
Drug overdose deaths greater than tripled amongst individuals age 65 and older throughout the previous 20 years whereas deaths from alcohol abuse elevated greater than 18% from 2019 to 2020, in keeping with knowledge revealed Wednesday by the Nationwide Middle for Well being Statistics.
Greater than 800,000 seniors suffered from drug habit and a couple of.7 million suffered from alcohol habit in 2020, in keeping with separate knowledge from the Well being and Human Companies Division.
In complete, greater than 5,000 seniors died of drug overdoses in 2020 and greater than 11,600 succumbed to alcohol, in keeping with the NCHS knowledge. Although drug overdose dying 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 downside coming at our door — these traits have been growing for a very long time now,” mentioned Alexis Kuerbis, a professor on the Silberman Faculty of Social Work and an professional on substance use amongst older adults.
Seniors immediately are child boomers, a era that had a way more open perspective towards medicine 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 not capable of tolerate them, she mentioned.
“Child boomers clearly are very totally different era than the silent era or the World Conflict II era,” Kuerbis mentioned. “Child boomers have been way more open to utilizing alcohol and medicines throughout their youthful years but in addition by way of 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 keeping with the information. Kuerbis mentioned there’s some proof to recommend individuals who have been prescribed opioids of their center age for an damage later switched to fentanyl as soon as it turned 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 typically happier than youthful adults, in addition they have the next prevalence of power ache, terminal sickness and dementia, she mentioned.
Some older adults additionally use medicine or alcohol to deal with main life modifications comparable to retirement, grief and loss, or a change of their residing scenario, in keeping with the Nationwide Institute of Drug Abuse.
Drug overdose deaths have been highest amongst Black seniors. The dying price from medicine amongst Black males ages 65 to 74 was greater than 4 occasions greater than Hispanic or white males in that age group, in keeping with the information. Black ladies ages 65 to 74 died extra typically from drug overdoses than white and Hispanic ladies. White ladies older than 75 had the next dying price from medicine than Black and Hispanic ladies.
Alcohol deaths have been highest amongst American Indian seniors adopted by Hispanics, white Individuals, Black Individuals and Asian Individuals, in keeping with the information.