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 May 15, 2005
More Older Adults Seek Substance Abuse Help, U.S. Reports
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The number of older adults admitted for substance abuse treatment in the United States increased by 32 percent from 1995 to 2002, says a study released Thursday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The number of older adults using opiates as their primary substance of abuse increased from 6.8 percent to 12 percent over that time. Opiates, which include prescription pain medications and heroin, are the second-most common reason, behind alcohol, for substance abuse treatment admissions among older adults.

In order to counter this trend, the federal government has launched an ad campaign to encourage older adults to "Do The Right Dose" when they're using prescription pain relievers.

"We are only beginning to realize the pervasiveness of substance abuse among older adults," Charles Curie, SAMHSA administrator, said in a prepared statement.


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