It's about time: tackling substance misuse in older people

Document type
Report
Corporate author(s)
DrugScope (Organization)
Publisher
DrugScope
Date of publication
1 February 2014
Subject(s)
Substance Misuse, Older Adults
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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It is known that, in general, alcohol use declines with age, and use of illicit drugs is less common in older people than in their younger counterparts. However, the proportion of older people in the population is increasing rapidly, as is the number of older people with substance use problems. It has been estimated that, in Europe, the number of older people with substance use problems or requiring treatment for substance misuse will more than double between 2001 and 2020. In spite of this, older people with substance use problems have historically been a marginalised group, whose particular needs have not been well met.

This report brings together information about older people and substance misuse, that is the use of alcohol, illicit drugs and prescribed and over-the-counter medications, from a range of sources, including published research and reports, service visits conducted in late 2013, information sent by specialist services, and a roundtable held in October 2013, attended by academics, policy specialists, practitioners, and former service users. It aims to identify some of the key issues and problems in this area, and makes recommendations for change, so that older people experiencing substance use problems are able to access the support they need.

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