America's drug users are going gray. A new study reveals that between 1992 and 2008 the proportion of substance abuse treatment admissions involving older Americans nearly doubled, Alcohol is still the most abused drug but it doesn't end there.
A new study shows that a rising number of Americans over 50 are in treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. Between 1992 and 2008, heroin admissions jumped from around 7,000 to nearly 37,000 and marijuana from just 600 people to more than 6,000. Those seeking treatment for cocaine rose from 2900 to 26,000. Alcohol is still the most abused drug by those over 50, but experts say the rise in illicit drug use by older Americans may stem from two things: the population is getting older so there are simply more people who are using and the baby boomer generation grew up when drug use was prevalent. In fact three quarters of older Americans admitted for treatment started using drugs before they were 25.