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Monday, August 20, 2012

Baby Boomers Abuse Of Illicit Drugs Doubled From 2002 to 2010

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NIH logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
America's baby boomers are often in the news. World War II ended in 1945. The troops returned home after very long deployments. Many married and most had babies. In fact, it was not unusual for couples to have a number of children over a very few years. If you try to determine how many baby boomers make up our population the reported numbers vary. Some estimate that 75 million people were born in the Baby Boom years between 1946 and 1964. Pew Research states that "the 79-million-member Baby Boomer generation accounts for 26% of the total U.S. population." If the current US population is around 330,000,000, then using Pew Research's numbers there are 85 million baby boomers (it is important to remember that not all of the current baby boomer population were born in the United States).

Over 10 million baby boomers reached college age in the mid to late 60s. Many were drafted or volunteered for the military and served in Vietnam, others entered college and found a new freedom, many experimented with drugs, the birth control pill offered a different type of freedom. It was not unusual for baby boomers to act in a cavalier manner and almost invincible.

Now it is 2012. Baby boomers are being cautioned to HIV and HEP C tests to their annual physicals. And many baby boomers are once again struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction. According to a report issued on June 6, 2012, by the National Institutes of Health:

"Data from national surveys reveal a disturbing trend for 50- to 59-year-olds: the number of those reporting past-month abuse of illicit drugs — including the nonmedical use of prescription drugs — more than doubled from 2002 to 2010, going from 907,000 to 2,375,000, or from 2.7 to 5.8 percent in this population. Among those 65 and older, 414,000 used illicit drugs in 2010."

The baby boomers are aging, many are now enrolled in Medicare. Many are drawing their Social Security benefits. But also many are going through divorces, or losing their jobs, facing the death of a spouse and they are aging. They metabolize drugs differently than when they were in their 20s and 30s, so returning to hard drugs can be dangerous and deadly.
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