The Aging Drug Death Demographic
Posted by Childress on September 9, 2006
Here’s a story that’s worth pondering:
The Arizona Department of Health Services said that over the past decade, the per capita rate for fatal, accidental poisoning by drugs and alcohol among Arizonans ages 45 to 64 has multiplied to 250 in 2005 from 39 in 1995.
Experts say baby boomers, now ages 42 to 60, are particularly susceptible to drug abuse in middle age and beyond.
“Drug addiction is so often talked about as a disease of our youth, but for so many people, it catches up with them when they age,” said Dr. Marvin Seppala, a national expert on drug abuse and chief medical director at Hazelden, a substance-abuse treatment program in Minnesota.
Seppala, a recovering drug addict, said he saw a dramatic change in the drug culture when the pain reliever OxyContin hit the market in 1995.
Here’s what this story tells us: We have a demographic group that has been taking drugs steadily since they were young in the 1970s. Every year, a few more die as their bodies get less able to protect themselves from the drugs.
Then oxycontin came out, and they started dropping like flies.