When Boomers were wallowing in the mud at Woodstock, leading the nation into the drug-fueled 1970s and exhorting the youth of the world to distrust anyone over the age of 30, the members of the Baby Boom generation caused considerable consternation among their elders.
Fast-forward a few decades, and the participants of the world’s most famous youth movement are now the grey-haired oldsters that they once warned about. But while their appearances and politics may have changed slightly since the heydays of the counterculture, several studies indicate that their interest in substance abuse continues to thrive.
In drug and alcohol rehab centers across the country, treatment professionals are seeing an increasing number of older adults enter substance abuse treatment. Drug and alcohol addiction among those in their 50s and 60s is on the rise, and with baby boomers comprising nearly one-quarter of the United States population, it is likely this trend will continue upward.
According to statistics provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), substance use among those aged 50 to 64 has significantly increased over the past decade. Among those aged 50 to 54, drug use rates have doubled from 3.4% in 2002 to 7.2% in 2012.
Additionally, the use of drugs and alcohol among those aged 55 to 59 has more than tripled from 1.9 percent to 6.6 percent in the same time period. For many addicts in their baby boomer years, alcohol is the most common drug that is abused along with cocaine.
But as baby boomers age, the way their bodies and brains handle the drug abuse can change and be especially harmful.
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