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Many adults cross into addiction later

April 23, 2012
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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 Hanley Center continues to spread the word about the dangers that older adults encounter with substances, and what brings them to that point. In recent days the South Florida treatment center released results of an online survey indicating that many older adults have a long history of substance use but never saw themselves crossing over into abuse or addiction until middle age (after age 48).

Hanley Center conducted a survey of 100 of its treatment alumni during February and March; a center spokesperson said the survey was designed to raise awareness about a still-growing problem. More than 90% of respondents reported that alcohol was one of the substances they had abused, and just under half said they had abused prescription medication.

Depression and anxiety ranked as the most commonly cited reason why respondents said they had turned to alcohol or drugs at dangerous levels. Financial stress and retirement also were mentioned as frequent contributing factors.

Hanley Center, now owned by Caron Treatment Centers, has earned a national reputation for offering services tailored to older-adult patients. “Many of these individuals have been abusing substances for a long time before even realizing they have a problem,” said Hanley Center medical director Barbara Krantz, DO, FASAM. “That’s why boomers and older adults require a customized treatment plan …” Seventy-nine percent of the survey respondents said their first use of drugs or alcohol had occurred before age 25.  

In another survey result, more than 40% of the Hanley alumni said their families/loved ones were the most influential in convincing them to pursue treatment.


Gary Enos


Gary Enos


Gary A. Enos has been the editor of Addiction Professional since its inception. He also...

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