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Some Startling Facts about Drug Addiction in Older Americans

According to the latest statistics, drug abuse or the use of illicit drugs among older Americans is on the rise. Government statistics indicate that the use of illicit drugs in older people is higher than in any previous generation, but they also state that this could be because Boomers in their 50s and 60s are the largest group to ever reach that age so far in history.

Whether drug addiction is on the rise in older Americans because there are just so many of them or because of other assorted reasons, the fact remains that drug addiction in older persons is a growing problem and recovery centers treat growing numbers of seniors as the years go by.

Illicit Drug Use by Age

Without naming the exact drugs factored into their statistics, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says that the sub-group within the 50 to 64 year old category who used illicit drugs most were those between 50 and 54 years of age. When the survey was conducted in 2013, 7.9% of those within this age group claimed to have used street or illicit drugs within the past month while only 3.4% made a similar claim in 2003.

That’s a figure that has more than doubled within a decade. Those from 55 to 59 years of age jumped from 1.9% in 2003 to 5.7% in 2013 and 60 to 64 year olds saw an increase from 2.5% to 3.9% in the same time period. Although the figures are lower on the chart, the group with the highest increase was that of the 50 to 54 year old sub-set.

Drugs Older Americans Are Using

The most recent statistics documented by the US National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health are about 5 years old in terms of the types of drugs that older Americans are abusing. However, as indicated by the numbers above, the problem is even more prevalent than it was in 2011 so it is almost certain that older adults are now seeking treatment for opioid and heroin addiction in far greater numbers than at that time. According to the facts as they detail them, the substances most reported for being abused within this age group are alcohol, cocaine, heroin/opioids.

When Seeking Treatment

The most common question asked when seeking treatment is typically, “How long does heroin stay in your system?” Quite often this is because the person is either going to be tested for drugs by a county or state agency or is going to be seeking some form of medical service that requires them to be drug-free. While there is no easy answer to that question because it really depends on the amount of heroin used, the quality of the substance, the length of time it was used and the metabolism of the person, the answer can range from a few hours to several days in blood, saliva and urine tests but in a hair follicle test heroin can be present for several months.

Instead of worrying about how long heroin stays in your system, it should be asked how long the effects of heroin will continue to haunt you while you seek recovery. The best answer will be given by a drug rehab center from a trained counselor or medical professional. Illicit drug use and abuse is on the rise in older adults so if you or someone you know needs help, know that you are not alone. Help is out there so get it before it’s too late. You don’t want to be a statistic of another kind.

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