Baby Boomers Increasingly Seeking Help for Drug Addiction
A Baltimore Sun article noted that while many of these Baby Boomers are seeking treatment, centers may not be ready for the influx.
According to industry research, illicit drug use has been rising among individuals in their 50s. This rise continues even as teen use is dropping. Health experts note that these aging boomers are now starting to feel the health consequences of long-term drug use.
A number of older Americans are finding that they have developed dependence on drugs such as marijuana – without realizing it. "Pot has been my friend, my good buddy since I was 16," said one longtime user, identified in the Sun only as Ava. "I used to think this was a victimless crime, but it's not. I'm a victim. They say you don't really get hooked on pot, not like on meth or heroin. But I know I'm addicted."
Treatment experts note that while older addicts are finally seeking treatment, many are not doing it on their own, but instead pushed by their children. At times, access to grandchildren is withheld until treatment is sought.
"Some are aging hippies who never stopped using alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. Some got into recreational use of cocaine or crack or meth later in life," said Judie Heckenliable, head counselor at Fairview-University Medical Center's chemical-dependency program. "And some started using as a way of self-medicating, to erase emotional or physical pain."