Baby Boomers Refuse to Turn Square with Age
The wave of Woodstock nostalgia this summer was a nice chance for everyone 50 and over to remind all the young whippersnaps out there that they revolutionized drug use. When they wanted to party, they took to a muddy field for three days of getting stoned and jamming out without any concern for health or hygiene. A new report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that they haven’t gone soft since. Five percent of aging Baby Boomers, or 4.3 million Americans over the age of 50, are still using illicit drugs, mostly smoking pot and abusing prescription medication. Before 2006, there were only 2.8 million Americans over 50 who reported using drugs.
Members of the health community are concerned about how to treat all these aging drug users, according to Business Week. “Finding appropriate treatments for this group adds more potential complications. We don’t really have data and research for the most effective treatments for older individuals,” said Jeffrey Parsons, chair of psychology at Hunter College in New York City. “Are existing programs effective or do we need to start from scratch?” Sources say that senior citizens with substance-abuse problems are also at a higher risk for suicide, and their bodies just aren’t able to metabolize drugs they same way they could when they were younger. But that’s where a line needs to be drawn between Baby Boomers who are addicted to pills and those who have just kept up their bong-rip habit into old age. The first group certainly needs medical support if they’re to enjoy the end of their lives, but the second group … well, they’re already medicating themselves.