Baby Boomers and Drug Abuse, Hear From the Experts

Historically, substance abuse is primarily concentrated among teens as well as young adults. However, the major concern lies on older adults. As the baby boomers ages, the older adult's population increases contributing in the large proportions of marijuana users and other prohibited drugs.

It is a fact that baby boomer followers have greater population compared to other followers. So it is expected that percentage of people using illicit drugs would also increase in just a few decades. Joseph Gfroerer uses the recent data of the surveys conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in presenting current prevalence and patterns and latest trends in using illicit drugs. 

The 4.4 % of the baby boomers population ages 50-59 years old admitted that they used prohibited drugs as been reported by the United States Government. The age group's percentage increased as supported by the nationwide surveys on Health and Drug Use. However, the use of illicit drugs among teenagers decreased to 9.9 % from 11.6% in 2005.

The director's assistant of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, David Murray said that contrasting phenomenon like this rarely occurs. The survey that was conducted involved interviews of approximately 67,500 people. It provides snapshots that are very importantly associated on how Americans smoke, drink, and use drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana.

The use of drugs stayed relatively unchanged for Americans ages 12 year old and above in 2005. There were about 19.7 million Americans who use illicit drugs which increase its percentage to 8.1% from a 7.9%. The increase was not solely contributed by boomers, but also those people ages 18 to 25 years old ranking the highest percentage in terms of using illicit drugs ranging to 20.1% from a 19.4%.

Federal officials posted their comments about these reports because they only emphasized the decrease of drug use among young teens without reporting the increase in among the 18-25 age groups.

Eric B. Broderick, an Assistant General Surgeon even asked if fundamental shifts like this really occur among youngsters in America. The 18-25 age brackets also called by Murray as gauntlets where everybody runs. In addition, the use of drugs among youths in the US reaches its peak during the late 70s bringing the baggage with them as they age 50-60 years old.

The percentage of baby boomers that uses illicit drugs increased since 2002 and reveals that Marijuana was their choice. The report was true revealing 14.6 million Marijuana users, 6.4 million people uses prescription drugs such as sedatives or tranquilizers and pain relievers, and 2.4 million people using cocaine. The 60% of these users exposed that they obtain the drugs from a friend or relative for free. An average of 4.3% users bought drugs from strangers or drug dealers. 

The Bureau of Census said that there are 78.2 million boomers born between 1946 and 1964. As been studied, abuse of substances like drugs became a part of their lives as they get older. The National Drug Control Policy director John Walters even said that some baby boomers carried this habit throughout their lives.

However, the editor of High Times (advocacy magazine on marijuana), Steve Hager said that ailing people ages 55 years old chooses marijuana over anti-depressants and sleeping pills while 60 year old and above uses it as pain relievers for glaucoma and related maladies.

However, the United States government never recognizes the medical benefits of marijuana although eleven states permit using it for medical reasons. Marijuana is considered the most well-known illicit drug used by about 6% users. Prescription drugs and stimulants is the second with a 2.6% user.

Other evidences of using drugs among baby boomers were revealed when a large number of them showed up for treatments. Moreover, overdose deaths are another reason. Those baby boomers that were caught smoking weed at Woodstock continue on with their habits until now.

Mr. Murray's good news was that young people in today's generation have learned the mistakes done by their parents. More teenagers are staying away from using illicit drugs and other harmful substances like tobacco and alcohol. The self-destruction pattern created by baby boomers is prevented in the coming generations thus this activity is well sustained. This promises a good future on the health of Americans.

Daniel Silver

 


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