Opioid Misuse on the Rise Among Older Americans

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Misuse of opioids, including heroin and prescription painkillers, has risen among adults 50 and older, according to a new government report.

Rates of opioid misuse have decreased among young adults.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found opioid misuse rose from 1 percent to 2 percent among older adults from 2002 to 2014, while rates decreased from 11.5 percent to 8 percent during the same period, HealthDay reports.

Overall, 9.5 million adults misused opioids in the past year, SAMHSA found.

“The high rates of [multiple] illnesses in older populations and the potential for drug interactions has profound implications for the health and well-being of older adults who continue to misuse opioids,” Dr. Kimberly Johnson, Director for the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, said in a news release.

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