According to the Centers for Disease Control, someone dies due to a prescription drug overdose every 19 minutes in this country. A vast majority of these cases are accidental or the result of addiction. Over the past decade, admissions for seniors into rehab centers have skyrocketed by 450 percent and unintentional prescription drug overdose is the second leading cause of injury-related death in the over-65 population.
The issue of prescription drug safety among seniors is one that needs much attention from doctors and legislators. As individuals in their 70s and 80s average eight different prescription medications on a daily basis and many in this group have issues with dementia, cognitive difficulties and even Alzheimer’s disease, proper monitoring and management of pills becomes imperative for their safety.
In the face of these frightening statistics, physicians and legislators are coming together to try to reverse the numbers of seniors who are being harmed by the medications that were meant to prevent disease and save lives. Some of the strategies being discussed and/or implemented include:
Another area where more public awareness is desperately needed is in the combination of prescription meds and alcohol. Even just one alcoholic beverage can have a potentially deadly impact, depending on the prescription and the patient’s overall health and metabolism. Respiration can stop completely because alcohol slows the central nervous system, just like sedatives and opiate medications. Many seniors already have a compromised health status due to chronic illness, which makes their body less able to tolerate alcohol and prescription drugs – especially in overwhelming combination.
If you know a senior who has become addicted to prescription medications, there is help available. We can connect you to a variety of high-quality treatment programs that provide addiction treatment individualized to each person’s specific needs. For seniors with ailing health, each day matters. Don’t let another day pass wasted on addiction. Contact us today.