We focus a lot on the younger generation and their use of designer drugs and alcohol and don't quite center as much attention on the older generation of adults. After reviewing a report from NSDUH which is the National Survey on Drug Use and Health this year, I began to realize substance use isn't just a phase a lot of young people go through and as they grow up things will get better.
Substance use of some form or another has probably been around since the beginning of time and we hope and pray that our young people make it through their young years safely if they do choose to experiment with drugs and alcohol.
According to this report, people who were born between 1946 & 1964 (baby boom generation) now has a higher rate of drug use compared to past generations. It's possible that this generation as they age, their "past year marijuana use will almost triple between 1999/2001 and 2020 among people 50 and older". The use of prescription type drugs for non-medical related reasons according to the report is also a problem of concern.
The NSDUH points out that an estimated 4.8 million adults who are 50 years of age or older or 5.2% of the adults in that age range had used some type of illicit drug in the past year. The use of marijuana was more common than the use of prescription type drugs for non-medical reasons among adults aged 50 to 59 and the use of prescription type drugs for non-medical use was as common as the use of marijuana among adults 60 years of age or older.
Even though people in all age groups use illicit drugs and the effects are serious and dangerous it can be even more worrisome for older adults because consequences associated with illicit drug use put them at a greater risk of harm. As stated above, 4.8 million adults 50 years of age or older had used an illicit drug in the past year.
- The most common illicit drug among older adults was marijuana (3.0 million users)
- The percentage of people using marijuana only, was higher among males than females
- Second in line was the nonmedical use of prescription type drugs (2.1 million users)
- The percentage reporting the nonmedical use of prescription type drugs was higher among females
Around 0.8 percent of older adults reported the use of an illicit drug other than marijuana or a prescription type drug nonmedical use (761,000 users) including cocaine 0.6%, heroin 0.1%, hallucinogens 0.1% and inhalants 0.1%.
It's apparent that focus needs to be put on all generations when it comes to substance use not just adolescents, teens and young adults. The use of illegal drugs, misuse of prescription drugs and other substances is problematic, worrisome, serious and dangerous no matter what age a person is. Our children are one of the biggest blessings we have in life and we want to protect them and keep them safe at all times. When our children are using substances that affect their health and well-being it destroys parents and all members of their family.
Young people need their parents and grandparents too and want them to always be safe and well. Today we need to educate and focus on intervention and prevention among all generations and age groups because the effect of substance abuse is felt by everyone. Parents and grandparents aren't the only ones suffering from the effects of their child's substance use; young people are feeling the effects too.