One section of the population that is often overlooked when it comes to the prescription drug abuse epidemic is the group of older Americans. There are several contributing factors that have made them more susceptible to this, and it is often harder to detect among the elderly.
A recent article draws into light the concerns among healthcare professionals in North Dakota about prescription drug addiction among older people in the United States.
Although most of the focus on prescription drug abuse has been on teenagers and younger adults, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) states that the number of people 55 and older admitted to the emergency room due to nonmedical use of prescription drugs more than tripled between 2004 and 2011.
Additionally, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that close to 30 percent of people between ages 57 to 85 use at least five prescriptions. While some of these prescriptions may be life-saving medications, there are often drugs such as painkillers or anti-anxiety pills mixed in. There is also an increased risk of danger when multiple drugs are mixed together, as these drug interactions can create a new level of toxicity and a plethora of potential side effects.
Some signs to watch out for may include memory loss or confusion, which can be separated out from early forms of Alzheimer’s by a primary care physician conducting tests. Other signs include being overly concerned about the amount of medications, when they’re taken and whether or not they’re going to run out.
Due to the possibility of multiple health conditions and medications, not all treatment facilities are equipped to deal with older adults. The detoxification procedures can be more complex and take specialist doctors who are familiar with the situation.
If you know of someone who may need help with prescription drug abuse, contact us today for a free consultation.