Perhaps it is the influence of coming of age in the 1960’s but according to the Senior Housing Newsa great deal of older adults are partaking in sex and are using drugs and alcohol as they coast into a new phase of life. A recent survey found the number of people 50 and older seeking treatment for addiction is rising drastically.
When it comes to sex, previous research has indicated that 80% of adults between the ages of 50-90 are sexually active. Between 2000 and 2009 the number of sexually transmitted infections in this age group has doubled.
Sex, drugs and rocking chairs
Aside from engaging sex, seniors are also consuming alcohol and using drugs. The Hanley Center, a drug and alcohol treatment center, predicts that without early intervention and treatment addiction levels will continue to increase which will lead to an addiction epidemic among older Americans.
For example, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of older adults who reported illegal drug use within a year almost doubled between 2002 and 2007. In this study, 40% stated they didn’t begin to use drugs or alcohol until after age 48. Substances of choice included alcohol with (90%) and prescription drugs (49.5%). The survey also found the reasons this population used drugs or alcohol were depression, anxiety, financial stress and retirement concerns.
While this may be distressing news to some, the cannabis activist group Silver Tour is taking an active role is advocating the legalization of marijuana. Their rationale is that marijuana can help treat chronic pain and insomnia, both of which are common among older adults. While a 2009 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed that in the 50-54 age range the number of people who use marijuana either recreationally or medicinally is 6.1% and less for people 65 and older one theory is that as the baby boomers age that statistic will increase significantly as the baby boomer generation is more tolerant of marijuana use.