By Benjamin H. Han, Alison A. Moore, Ximena A. Levander
This article, published in Health Affairs, describes opportunities for delivering age-friendly evidence-based care treatment for older adults with substance use disorders.
- Substance use disorders among older adults are expected to continue to sharply increase among older adults who have a history of substance use disorder (SUD).
- An increase is also expected among older adults who are newly diagnosed, often due to co-occuring mental illness, later-life stress, and prescription psychoactive drugs prescribed to treat chronic conditions that may lead to misuse.
- Between 1999 and 2020, there has been a nearly 700% increase in unintentional drug overdoses among adults 65 and older (Center for Disease Control, 2020). Despite this, addiction among older adults is often overlooked and older adults are often not screened or offered age-friendly evidence-based treatment for substance use disorder.
- Further, there are significant racial and ethnic disparities among older adults, such as unequal access buprenorphine for opioid use disorder and fewer investments in addiction-related treatment and interventions.