Heroin addiction knows no boundaries and affects people of every age, sex, race, religion, etc. Nationwide, heroin has been declared an “epidemic,” affecting countless individuals, families, and communities of every background. In recent years, the growing heroin epidemic has been typically viewed as primarily targeting suburban youth, but according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), older people in the United States are increasingly becoming victims of heroin as well. According to the NCHS, the number of heroin-related deaths for those aged 45-64 has almost quintupled from 516 in 2000 to 2,459 in 2013.
We recently posted a blog about the baby boomer generation’s increasing rates of drug abuse, imprisonment due to drug-related crime, and drug overdose deaths. It is important that we are aware of the impact of drug abuse and addiction on all populations in the nation and around the world. The older population’s struggle with drug abuse is often overlooked, making it that much more dangerous for those suffering.
“The number of heroin-related deaths for those aged 45-64 has almost quintupled from 516 in 2000 to 2,459 in 2013” -National Center for Health Statistics
Older adults are more likely to be prescribed prescription painkillers due to surgeries, joint pain, broken bones, and so on. Their use may start out as a way to manage pain, but over time, their body may become addicted to the prescription opiates. When painkillers aren’t enough, some turn to heroin. Because many older adults struggling with drug abuse still need pain medication for their various ailments, weaning them from an opiate addiction can be especially challenging. Older adults also are more likely to have grown up with a stigma around addiction and mental health. This may make it harder to get the older generation to accept addiction treatment.
This research from the NCHS highlights how far-reaching the disease of addiction truly is. Although heroin is thought to primarily affect youth from the suburbs, this is not the entire truth. As the NCHS statistics show, the heroin epidemic is impacting the older generation as well as our younger Americans. If you or someone you know is struggling with a heroin addiction, or abuse of any substance, help is available. Contact Addiction Intervention Now today to begin your new life in recovery, free from the pain of active addiction.