Illicit drug use in adults age 50 and over is increasing dramatically says a recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This includes an alarming incidence of non medical use of prescription drugs among women aged 60 to 64. In part, this increase points to the aging of the baby boomer generation, and reportedly may necessitate the doubling of substance abuse treatment facilities by 2020.
The SAMHSA report, entitled Illicit Drug Use among Older Adults, found that an estimated 4.7% of older adults (4.3 million) have used an illegal drug during the past year. Men 50 and over were almost twice as likely to have used marijuana over the nonmedical use of prescription drugs, although marijuana use does not usually lead to the need for treatment. In men 65 years or older, the use of nonmedical prescription drugs was found to be more common than marijuana use.