Drug use among older adults a 'hidden epidemic'

Drug abuse among people over 65 year olds is a hidden and growing problem globally, international experts say, and worrying trends are emerging among New Zealand's older people too.

I am constantly made aware of increasing Drug use, misuse and the growing dependence on many prescribed medications for pain and insomnia among the over 50 age group in our workplaces. This article refers to the people of age who are retired and having issues with drug use and dependence. The main focus of this article seems to be on alcohol and illicit drugs with a 13% prevalence of Cannabis use in over 50's.

Risk from drugs is not an age thing. The wear and tear experienced by many in physical work combined with their need or desire to stay working longer is putting huge pressure on the under and over 50’s to use medications to be able to cope. The outcome is often dependence, risks of tolerance and dependence and the drug  side effects when in safety sensitive work environments or driving. This is an interesting article and I recommend taking on board its warning message not to be ageist when it comes to addressing this issue in workplaces and providing support and thought to all in this regard.

Read the full article at https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/2018792019/drug-use-among-older-adults-a-hidden-epidemic.

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Ann-louise Anderson