When you think of prescription pill abuse, you might think of teenagers or college students. Young people are increasingly abusing prescription medication. But, there is another age group that has been abusing prescription drugs – the elderly. You might not have guessed it, but elderly patients tend to take multiple medications prescribed by different doctors, making them an at risk group of people for prescription drug abuse. The increased prescription pill abuse among senior citizens is cause for concern.
Factors in Prescription Pill Abuse
There has been an increase in the number of patients over the age of 50 that need treatment for addiction to prescription drugs. There are several factors that contribute to the large percentage of elderly citizens that abuse their medication. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) claims that almost 30% of adults ages 57-85 use at least five different medications. Oftentimes, these drugs get prescribed by several different doctors. Unknowingly mixing this medication can have harmful side affects or cause addictive behavior.
Because of the prevalence of these drugs among this age group, addiction and abuse can occur. Furthermore, the drugs prescribed to elderly patients can be potentially harmful due to the fact that they can be highly addictive. Drugs like Valium, Vicodin, Percocet, and Ativan constitute addictive substances. Anyone can get addicted to these drugs, but the elderly are especially vulnerable.
Senior citizens are vulnerable to addiction due to physical, social, and psychological burdens. Many elderly people become addicted to prescribed drugs in order to cope with sleeping problems, injuries, and other physical ailments. The psychological state of the elderly can also contribute to addiction. Sadness over the loss of a loved one or the inability to contribute to society can cause depression. One coping mechanism for depression is abusing drugs.
Signs of Abuse
Signs of prescribed drug abuse and addiction don’t always get recognized easily. Many people believe that they can take legally prescribed drugs whenever they want. However, if you constantly think about taking your medication and fear that you can’t live your life without it, you might get addicted to it. In addition, if you start taking medication more frequently than your doctor recommended, you might get addicted to medication.
As prescription pill addiction among the elderly continues to rise, it is important to recognize the warning signs of addiction. If charged with drug abuse as an elderly citizen, you should do everything in your power to fight the charge and seek treatment if necessary. In order to build a strong defense, you should contact a Connecticut criminal defense lawyer. For more information, check out the other pages in this section.