Pot smoking hippies from the 1960â€™s have grown into middle-aged Americans across our country, and unfortunately older people between 50 and 59 are continuing to use drugs in the 2000â€™s.
A survey conducted by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services determined that 8 percent of people between the ages of 50 and 59 used an illicit drug of some sort. The survey said most of them used marijuana, but many use prescription drugs, pain medications, ant-anxiety pills, and sleeping pills. Between 2002 and 2008, the percentage of potheads and pill users in their 50â€™s grew by over 50 percent.
Rightfully so, researchers are very worried that lifetime drug use by baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) is on the rise, and will complicate the lives and health of many aging Americans. Peter Delaney, Director of the Office of Applied Studies, mentioned that there are so many people in the 50 to 59 age bracket needing substance abuse help that the number of treatment facilities needs to double in the near future.
Delaney said the problem with older users is that drugs cause greater impairment, as people get older. As physiology slows down with age, it takes a lot longer to process drugs through the body. In other words, drugs like marijuana stay in the bodyâ€™s system for longer periods of time. Also, a mix of marijuana and prescribed pills that lower blood pressure can produce lethal side effects. Unknowing drug users in their 50â€™s can easily land themselves and extended stay in the hospital for mixing marijuana and pain pills.
The substance abuse administration also queried over 20,000 adults over 50 and found that 5.2 percent of adults in the 50 to 59 age group used marijuana between 2006 and 2008. In addition, 2.9 percent of them took prescription drugs illegally. Lastly, 7.9 percent of these adults said they had taken some type of illicit drug as well.