The Huffington Post (7/6, Gates) reports that according to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “an estimated 4.8 million adults aged 50 and older used an illicit drug — whether it was an illegal substance or non-medical use of a prescription — last year.” The increase in the number of older substance abusers in the past decade prompted the National Institutes of Health to release its first consumer alert for seniors last month. Beyond the dangers of illegal substances, “with the average 50-year-old man taking four prescription drugs per day, the likelihood of addiction to necessary medicines is high.” The Post includes a slideshow gallery highlighting the top five most commonly abused prescription medicines among the 50+ demographic, according to health reports.
Prescription Medication Abuse Credited With Increasing Heroin Addiction. The Morristown (NJ) Daily Record (7/6, Townsend) reports, “The use of prescription pills among adolescents and teenagers has reached epidemic proportions in New Jersey and has led to increased heroin addiction, one expert said. And on Tuesday, a special state task force will address the issue at a hearing at Daytop New Jersey, a drug treatment center for adolescents, in Mendham.” Frank Greenagel, a recovery counselor and Rutgers University professor, “said the rise in heroin addiction is directly tied to the number of painkillers readily available by legal means and on the black market.” Greenagel said that “the overprescription of painkillers by doctors and dentists’ needs to be curbed.”
— “Drug Use & Baby Boomers: 5 Prescription Drugs With High Potential For Abuse, “Sara Gates, The Huffington Post, July 5, 2012.