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When it comes to the opioid epidemic, the focus is largely on those who are under the age of 55. After all, approximately 36% of those suffering from opioid addiction are between the ages of 35 and 54.
But recent data from AARP has found that the number of Americans over the age of 55 been on the rise. In fact, up to 32% of those suffering from opioid addiction are 55 or older, which is more than the number of those between 25 and 34 (31%).
Are older Americans becoming more susceptible to opioid addiction and is there something that can help to reduce these numbers?
Older adults aren't becoming more susceptible to opioid addiction. Like Americans of every other age group, they're just as susceptible to opioid use disorder. Yet, older Americans are some of the major users of opioid drugs because their doctors prescribe them opioid prescriptions.
Older adults are more likely to suffer from chronic conditions. These conditions include arthritis and lower back pain and often require painkillers to help patients live their everyday lives.
Older adults also require painkillers to treat pain after surgery just like younger adults. The prescription of these painkillers doesn't necessarily mean they're safe to use, especially for a long period of time.
After using opioid prescription medications for a certain amount of time, the patient may begin to develop an opioid addiction and may misuse their medication. But opioid addiction isn't the only threat opioids pose to patients.
Those who are unaware of what medications shouldn't be mixed may take opioid medications with other prescription drugs. For instance, a common opioid like OxyContin (also known as oxycodone) can be deadly when mixed with benzodiazepines (anxiety and insomnia medications under the names Ativan, Xanax, and Valium).
That said, it's critical that you pay close attention to the medications you're using and that you talk to your doctor about the potential issues that may occur, especially addiction.
Four out of every five new heroin users begin by misusing prescription painkillers. Fortunately, methadone treatment clinics can help.
Methadone treatment centers provide the treatment you need to fight back against withdrawal symptoms and regain control over your life. To learn more about methadone treatment programs and how they work, contact Sundance Methadone Treatment Center today and ask about our methadone inpatient treatment options.