Why is There a Rise of Alcohol/Substance Abuse in Seniors?

The public largely attributes the problem of alcoholism and drug use to younger generations. They assume that teens, young twenty-somethings, and people who are in the prime of their lives are more prone to drinking too much or experimenting with drugs.

However, studies have repeatedly shown that, while it is true that younger generations do in fact struggle with these problems, the Baby Boomer generation has a significant number of this age group who continue to suffer from alcoholism and drug abuse.

Why is There a Rise of Alcohol/Substance Abuse in Seniors?The National Council of Aging estimates that aging adults with problems of substance abuse will increase to 5 million by the year 2020. As the public becomes aware of these problems among the Baby Boomer generation, they also may wonder why so many in this age group struggle with drug and alcohol problems and what kinds of legal and health issues these aging members could face.

Drugs and Alcohol Aren’t New to Boomers

This generation is the same one that was weaned on rock and roll music and reveled in the free love, anything goes years of the 60s and 70s. Because they spent so much of their younger years imbibing, it is all too natural for many of them to continue this recreational use of drugs and alcohol in their senior years. For many Boomers, using drugs and drinking is a lifelong habit that they have never bothered to or perhaps been able to shed.

Facing Mortality and Denying Death

The Baby Boomer generation has long enjoyed a reputation for being fearless and innovative. This generation swept many of present society’s technology into being and created many of the enjoyments that younger generations take for granted. It is arguably understandable that this generation, once hailed for being seemingly immortal, is hedging at the thought of aging and facing death. Many Boomers cannot face their own aging processes; they find relief and escape in drinking and using drugs.

While it is understandable that this generation is accustomed to these habits and perhaps uses them to avoid the certain reality that they are aging and facing retirement, Baby Boomers also cannot avoid the reality that they face the same legal consequences as drinkers and drug users younger than they are. Because they are older and facing the health risks known to exist among seniors, people in this generation, as well as their family members and friends, should be aware of the risks that come with drinking and using drugs.

Jail Time and Monetary Fines

As this generation enters their retirement years, many of them are finding themselves living on smaller means. They may not have a lot of money to throw away on buying alcohol and drugs, let alone court costs and monetary fines if they are pulled over and taken to jail for DUI.
Repeated DUI convictions could lead to huge monetary fines of, as well as jail terms that could last as long as 12 months. If you or a loved one are arrested in Pennsylvania for driving under the influence, contact a local attorney to clarify your options for DUI laws in PA.

Adverse Interactions with Medications

Many Baby Boomers are on medications for high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and other health conditions. When they drink, use illicit drugs or both, older adults could experience adverse reactions and suffer devastating health consequences. Some could risk death if they drink too much combined with a lethal cocktail of prescription and illicit drugs. Seniors should be aware that they risk their health and perhaps even mortality when they continue to drink and take drugs while also taking certain prescription medications.

Alcoholism and drug use are problems that no longer belong to teenagers and young twenty-somethings. Baby Boomers also suffer from these problems and could face unique health and legal challenges because of their drug and alcohol use. Understanding this problem and how it could adversely affect their later years could help people in this generation shed habits that have been with them since they were younger.




Teresa Stewart is a free-lance writer and caregiver who enjoys researching and sharing issues of health and well-being for baby boomers. Steven Kellis of the Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis can sort out the complexities of DUI laws in PA for their clients. His expertise will determine if a plea bargain should be made, or if it’s in the clients best interest to argue their case at trial for a possible not guilty verdict.

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