Age Doesn’t Appear to Curb Drug Use

Age Doesn’t Appear to Curb Drug Use

Did the hippie generation leave their lawbreaking drug days behind? According to a recent Penn Live report, some may be carrying habits into older age. Statistics show that many a baby boomer might be puffing on a joint for National Weed Day.

According to national figures from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a study sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, illicit drug use among those in the age range of 50 to 59 increased from 2.7 percent in 2002 to 4.6 percent in 2008.

“It’s not a crime wave. I wouldn’t say you need to look cross eyed at your elderly neighbors,” said Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed, in Penn Live. “But a generation that may have been involved in more drug activity has aged, and some of them haven’t aged out of their behavior.”

One example provided by Marysville Police Chief Carl Lehman is the case of Judith Anne Drum. It has been common knowledge for the past 20 years that Drum, 69, is the go-to person for crack cocaine. Drum is set to stand trial on drug charges after she was accused of selling crack to an undercover officer in February.

“People don’t look at the elderly as selling crack cocaine,” Lehman said. “That’s probably how she got away with it.”

Jack Carroll, director of the Cumberland-Perry Drug and Alcohol Commission, noted that the unique needs of this emerging – and older – population of substance users is challenging the treatment system to become more educated about their needs and the best way to deliver treatment.

At the same time, many are baffled how the older generation is thriving while living a life consuming drugs. Illicit substances can take a toll on the body and as Carroll highlights, the thought of someone making it to age 70 seems to defy logic.

No matter the age, many are likely to consume cannabis on Tuesday. This counterculture holiday started after a group of California teenagers would gather regularly after class at 4:20 to smoke marijuana in 1971. The holiday appears to live on.


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