Tags: Baby boomers | substance abuse | drugs | aging | health

Drug Dependence Increases Among Baby Boomers

Wednesday, 05 Oct 2011 11:09 AM

By Greg McDonald

The need for substance abuse treatment is expected to double among baby boomers by 2020 because of increased dependence on drugs to cope with job loses and other setbacks in their aging lives, according to private and government treatment experts.

“As a generation that grew up in a time when recreational drug use was commonly accepted, Boomers are reverting to substance abuse as a way to cope with stress and change,” observed Dr. Barbara Krantz, the CEO of the Florida-based Hanley Center, a well known nonprofit substance abuse treatment and recovery center.

Krantz pointed to a study completed this summer by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that shows the rate of illicit drug use has increased more than 3 percent over the past eight years among 50- to 59-year-old baby boomers – the generation of Americans born after World War II between 1944 and 1964.

Krantz said the increased substance abuse could be tied to depression and anxiety caused by the recent financial crisis as well as normal health and other issues associated with aging.

“As Baby Boomers enter a transitional stage in their lives, new stressors, such as financial strain, grieving the loss of a parent or age-related health issues, make them more prone to depression and anxiety,” she said Wednesday in a statement addressing the scope of the problem.

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