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Older Americans are Abusing Drugs More Now Than Ever Before
MIAMI VALLEY -- A shocking statistic and it's happening not only across the nation, but right here in the Miami Valley.
According to a local expert, three out of 10 older people are taking at least five prescription drugs multiple times a day, and some are even abusing them.
"I never realized that there was a relationship between the two," said Greg Newell.
Newell was shocked when he heard just how many older Americans are abusing prescription drugs, but recognizes why it could be happening.
"My parents and a whole lot of older folks have a whole medicine cabinet full of drugs," said Newell. "So I guess that makes sense that they would become addicted."
"They think that it's harmless because it's being prescribed by a physician," said Andrea Hoff with Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services.
But it's not harmless.
In fact, nationally in the last 10 years we've seen nearly a 100 percent increase of elderly people going to the emergency room because of a prescription drug abuse.
"They're not always aware of what the signs may be for abuse and medications at that age," said Hoff.
"If you got that many drugs sitting around your house then there's an opportunity to abuse," said Newell.
It's not just prescription drugs older Americans are abusing either.
According to a recent study, illegal drug abuse has more than doubled for people 50 to 54 and more than tripled for Americans 55 to 59.
"You think of young people more than you do the elderly," Newell said.
No matter prescription or illegal, it's up to you to make sure your parents or grandparents are safe.
"You would have to be in contact with their doctor on a somewhat regular basis," said Newell.
In the same study on elderly drug abuse, it showed drug abuse among teens has dropped 20 percent in the last 10 years.
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