Opiate Addiction Grows in over 50

Addiction to Opiates Rise to Alarming Rate. by John Rosengren, AARP Bulletin, June 2017| The Opioid Menace – AARP AMERICANS OVER 50 are using narcotic pain pills in surprisingly high numbers, and many are becoming addicted. While media attention has focused on younger people buying illegal opioids on the black market, dependence can also start with a legitimate prescription from a doctor: A well-meant treatment for knee surgery or chronic back troubles is often the path to a deadly outcome. Consider these numbers: • Almost one-third of all Medicare patients — nearly 12 million people — were prescribed opioid painkillers by their physicians in 2015. • That same year, 2.7 million Americans over age 50 abused painkillers, meaning they took them for reasons or in amounts beyond what their doctors prescribed. • The hospitalization rate due to opioid abuse has quintupled for those 65 and older in the past two decades. From pain to addiction Behind the numbers are the shattered lives of many who never dreamed they’d become drug abusers. Cindy Thoma, 63, who owns and operates a bookstore in Muskegon, Mich., became addicted to opioid pain pills after being injured in a car crash with a drunk driver who ran a red light. “I was running away from my pain,” she says. “I did well at first. But I began to take them sooner, which meant I needed more. I needed more because my body got used to […]

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