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Report documents increase in opioid misuse in older adults

July 28, 2017
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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During a period in which opioid misuse has declined among young adults, the trend among older adults is showing an increase, states a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Based on data from SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the rate of past-year opioid misuse among adults ages 50 and older in 2014 was higher than it was in 2002. At the same time, young-adult past-year opioid misuse (ages 18 to 24) declined from 11.5% in 2002 to 8.1% in 2014. That rate, however, still is higher overall than the older-adult opioid misuse rate of around 2% in 2014.

“The high rates of comorbid illnesses in older populations and the potential for drug interactions has profound implications for the health and well-being of older adults who continue to misuse opioids,” Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) director Kimberly Johnson said in a news release this week.

The data can be found in the newly released spotlight report titled Opioid Misuse Increases Among Older Adults.