Seniors may be at higher risk of addiction

By Staff Writer

Painkiller addiction is becoming a growing problem among many groups of people. However the issue may be most severe among the elderly, as their bodies may be more susceptible to addiction, forcing them to seek substance abuse treatment.

Experts say that the metabolic system of most older individuals slows down. While this is a normal part of the aging process, it may increase their risk of addiction because it takes their bodies longer to clear the drugs.

An anesthesiologist at Brandon Pain Medicine in Tampa, Florida told Tampa Bay Online that medications aren’t necessarily safe under all circumstances. Even when they are used as prescribed by a doctor, they may result in addictions. This is particularly true of older individuals who have slower metabolisms.

He added that opioid pain medications can be extremely effective under the right circumstances. However, doctors need to be watchful to make sure that they are having the desired effect on their older patients.

More than 8 million older adults suffer from addiction to alcohol, pain medications or illegal drugs, according to the Addiction Prevention and Recovery Agency.