The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) has released a resource focusing on substance use in ageing populations.
The document covers the consequences of substance use in older adults, health conditions which might occur, detection and screening and treatment options. The resource is pertinent to Canadian healthcare providers where the population of older adults is estimated to grow from 15% to 25% by 2036. There is a similar pattern of ageing within many nations where drug related death statistics globally feature increasing representation of older adults.
Important issues are raised in the resource which are often overlooked. The unique issues relating to substance use in older adults are highlighted such as the fact impairment in individuals is often assumed to be linked to the symptoms of older age rather than the prevalence of substance use; social isolation of older people often means family and friends won't pick up on substance use; and older adults may feel greater social pressure not to speak out about their substance use as their social support contracts.
This resource will be useful in the development of clinical guidelines, for individuals planning health behaviour interventions and those involved in community treatment.