Mental Help Net
Drug Addiction
Basic InformationLatest NewsBlog EntriesVideosLinks
Related Topics

Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

You Mean Grandma and Grandpa Abuse Drugs?

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Aug 15th 2007

The title above may strike some of you as surprising because drug abuse is most commonly associated with the young. We all know that alcohol abuse afflicts all ages and most of us are aware that even the elderly drink too much to avoid feelings of loneliness and loss. Now, there is a new phenomenon in which older people are found abusing chemical substances and this defies our stereotyped views of the elderly.

Katherine R. Schlaerth, MD, practices medicine in California and recently reported on drug usage among older people. As she points out, the "flower children" of the 1960's who lead the revolution in using illicit drugs are now either retired or entering retirement and are either continuing or returning to their drug abuse.

Dr. Schlaerth reports on a study issued by one of the hospital emergency departments in Los Angeles that did a study of drug abuse seen in the emergency room. The study revealed that cocaine was the overwhelming drug of choice of many older people seen in the emergency room of that hospital. The interesting thing is many of those patients came to the ER with cardiovascular complaints that were caused by cocaine.

The report found that three fourths of the patients reported ranged in age from 50 to 65. Now, hold onto you seats: the oldest drug abuser was 90 years old. Surprised? How about this: 4 percent of the drug abusers were 80 years old and above.

In reports from every where in the nation drugs used by older and elderly adults include:

1. Marijuana,

2. Heroin, PCP and Valium and similar substances,

3. Amphetamines, including Methamphetamines.

If illegal drugs are dangerous to the health of young people they are fatal to the older population, speeding strokes, heart attacks, seizures and dementias, among a whole host of other illnesses.

It is now clear that drug abuse is a truly national problem afflicting all age groups. It damage health and well being and completely destroys family life.

Evidently, there are families who abuse together, across the generations.

What are your thoughts about his problem?

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Follow us on Twitter!

Find us on Facebook!

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.

Powered by CenterSite.Net