It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
A remarkable shift in the number of older adults reporting substance abuse problems is making this scene more common. Between 1992 and 2008, treatment admissions for those 50 and older more than doubled in the U.S. That number will continue to grow, experts say, as the massive baby boom generation ages.
The growth outpaces overall population gains among older demographics. Between 2000 and 2008, substance abuse treatment admissions among those 50 and older increased by 70 percent while the overall 50-plus population grew by 21 percent. Experts say that's because boomers have historically high rates of substance abuse, often developed three or four decades ago, that comes to a head later in life.
Treatment professionals believe the actual number of older people with substance abuse problems is many times larger than the amount seeking help.
Experts have observed a rise in illicit drug use, while treatment for alcohol has dropped even though it remains the chief addiction among older adults. The 2008 statistics show 59.9 percent of those 50 and older seeking treatment cited alcohol as their primary substance, down from 84.6 percent in 1992. Heroin came in second, accounting for 16 percent of admissions in that age group, more than double its share in the earlier survey. Cocaine was third, at 11.4 percent, more than four times its 1992 rate.