Late Onset of Prescription Drug Abuse or Dependence Among Older Adults: Implications for Treatment

Kathy Lay, Lucy J. King


Prescription drug abuse and dependence is an increasing concern for older
adults. This article describes issues specific to older adults with late onset abuse or
dependence on prescription sedatives and/or opiates.The older adult with late onset
should not be viewed as having the same issues as individuals who have a life pat-
tern of drug and alcohol abuse/dependence.A chart review of older adults in a treatment program contrasts late onset prescription dependence clients (n=12) and early
onset addiction clients (n=104) and outlines differences and similarities between the
two samples. Social workers need to understand the specific and changing needs of
older adults as they relate to assessment and treatment of drug abuse and dependence.


Addiction and the aged; sedative abuse; sedative dependence; opiate dependence; opiate abuse; dependence

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Copyright (c) 2007 Kathy Lay, Lucy J. King


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