New Warnings for Baby Boomers: Popular Prescription Drugs Addictive, Prone to Abuse
While it may seem like an unlikely scenario for baby boomers to abuse prescription medications, it’s happening at a pace that’s surprising and worrisome, say experts.
Typical warnings for adults in the 50 and over age category include following the instructions on the bottle for prescriptions and being careful not to mix or take an extra dose. However, a recent Huffington Post article highlights the reality that at least 4.8 million people aged 50 and up have experience with illegal use of a drug, including taking a prescribed medication for purposes not medically approved. In fact, national research reports have led to new alerts and warnings geared toward the 50-plus audience.
The new warnings for the baby boomer crowd also include information about the highly addictive potential of many popular medications, such as Zoloft or Lexapro. Prozac and Xanax are also garnering new warnings that addiction is possible. One recent report says that more than 31 percent of emergency room trips made by people over 50 years of age involved prescription medications in the sedative or depressants category; addiction is also a prevalent threat in addition to side effects from misuse.
Among emergency room visits by senior or baby boomer adults, prescription painkillers still remain at the top as a factor, such as Vicodin or Oxycodone. Some reports estimate these account for more than 43 percent of trips to the E.R. among this population.
In terms of relief for chronic pain, warnings also point to higher numbers of seniors using marijuana, which can be prescribed medically in some states. It is believed that at least three million people in the baby boomer category have used marijuana for illegal purposes during the past twelve months.
Baby boomers may be at high risk for prescription drug abuse as the natural aches and pains related to aging become more chronic. Doctors are urged to monitor prescriptions carefully and talk to patients about the addictive potential of certain medications.