A Surprising Guide on Overdoses Among the Elderly

A Surprising Guide on Overdoses Among the Elderly

When it comes to problems with addiction, people tend to overlook the elderly. Unfortunately, our senior population is among the most at risk to be hospitalized for an overdose. As an interventionist, I’m starting to see more and more families requesting a drug intervention for older relatives and I suspect it’ll only increase as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age.

Increase in Prescription Use

There are many reasons our elders may turn to drugs or alcohol later in life: their physical health begins failing, their adult children are busy with their own lives and may not stay in touch as frequently, or their friends or partner of many years become ill or pass away. Often, the addiction starts innocently enough. I’ve seen many instances where, rather than seeking an intentional high, drugs or alcohol are used to help manage pain or emotional distress. Older adults are three times more likely to use prescription drugs than any other demographic and unfortunately, many of the medications prescribed can be potentially addictive when improperly used or taken for a long period of time.

Risks of Addiction in the Elderly

Alcohol and drug abuse presents unique problems for seniors. As we age, changes occur in the brain and body, making us less tolerant to the effects of drugs or alcohol. Our metabolism slows and medical complications may interfere with how our bodies break down alcohol or drugs. Additionally, substance abuse in the elderly can increase their risk of memory loss, falling and breaking bones, delirium, and potential addiction, as well as heightening the odds for adverse reactions with other medication and sadly, overdose.


It’s easy to misdiagnose substance abuse, or worse still, shrug it off due to the person’s advanced age. But once the problem is identified, there’s hope. Regardless of why someone is abusing prescription or illicit drugs or alcohol, addiction is a disease that can be managed with the proper treatment. As a trained and certified drug and alcohol interventionist and recovery coach, I can help you get your loved one into medically-supported detox and treatment. My programs are customized to suit my client’s needs, regardless of their age. Even a drug addiction brought on later in life can be successfully treated so that the person can enjoy their golden years clean and sober.

But it all starts with an intervention. For a free consultation, contact me today.

[templatera id="17199"]