Senior Living: Prescription Painkiller Abuse, Opioids

Senior Living Prescription Painkiller Abuse, OpioidsSenior Living: Prescription Painkiller Abuse, Opioids

Opioid abuse has become a national concern. Despite the notion that addiction and substance abuse is primarily for younger people, it affects every age group from teenagers to adults. The senior population is no exception.

Elderly patients tend to take many medications prescribed by multiple doctors for a variety of ailments and symptoms. The overlap in prescriptions and high amount of drugs they take can increase their risk of prescription drug abuse.

Nonmedical use of prescription drugs is a rapidly growing threat. According to the New York Times, some studies estimate that up to 10 percent of the elderly misuse prescription drugs with serious abuse potential. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly three in ten people between ages 57 to 85 use at least five prescriptions. In addition, the rate of hospital admissions related to prescription medications and illicit drug use rose by 96 percent between 1997 and 2008.

For the senior population, there are physical, psychological and social factors that make them vulnerable to addiction. Many can become dependent on drugs prescribed to treat joint paint, injuries from falls or sleeping problem.

Addiction is rarely a case of “getting high” or any of the sensationalized reasons for addiction. Rather, it tends to be the result of becoming addicted to prescriptions originally prescribed for pain management.

Addiction can be difficult to spot, especially when painkillers are part of their prescribed treatment. Warning signs can include taking medication at different times and in different doses than what their physician prescribed.

The senior living industry consists of facilities, communities and caregivers whose mission is to provide many different types of services and care for those in need. The goal is to provide individuals with a quality, dignified life. With this come rewards, opportunities and challenges.

At DigniCARE, we understand this and have a shared passion and vision with those of you who have committed your lives to caring for seniors. Contact us today for more information about our senior living insurance programs. (855) 883-6306

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