Much of what we talk about at Infinite Recovery is how substance abuse affects the lives of young people. Many of our staff members started their path to addiction as teenagers and young adults, so we have a special awareness of their vulnerability, as well as the ability parents have to rescue them from addiction. Young people, however, are not the only ones struggling with the American opioid crisis.
A recent report shared by Kaiser Health News indicated that over the past 20 years, the rate of hospitalization among seniors that is related to opioid abuse has quintupled.
It’s the same story that we see over and over again. Doctors overprescribe addictive painkillers and patients get hooked. OIder people suffering from chronic pain, arthritis and other conditions are particularly vulnerable to this situation. Many elderly report feeling confused, depressed and still in pain, even taking the pills as prescribed – which encourages the use of larger doses.
According to a 2011 study 15 percent of hospitalized Medicare patients were prescribed an opioid when they were discharged. Of those 15 percent, 42 percent continued to use the drugs three months later.
Compounding the problem, the American Geriatric Society came out strongly in favor of opioids, updating its guidelines on pain management to urge doctors to consider using opioids for older patients who have moderate to severe pain in 2009, citing evidence that seniors were less likely than others to become addicted. Those guidelines have since been rescinded, but for many, the damage was already done.
If you or a loved one are struggling with opioid addiction, we can get help. We offer a confidential hotline at (844) 206-9063 and our admissions team is available 24/7 online.