On August 21 of last year police found Nicholas Tyrrell, 51, dead in his apartment. A concerned neighbor, Ronald Potter, called the police after he had not seen Tyrrell for four days. An inquest heard last week said that Tyrrell had fatal levels of morphine in his system, which pointed to the misuse of heroin.
Tyrrell had been experiencing anxiety and depression for a number of years. He would drink tea that contained crushed opium poppy seeds that he would purchase on -line. There was one point in time were Tyrrell sought help and stopped the habit, but then he lapsed.
Coroner David Roberts said, “He started taking heroin again…the fact that he stopped for a time and then started again meant his tolerance levels were lower.” Roberts ruled that Tyrrell died of misfortune, “He accidentally overdosed and didn’t take his own life, but he was a highly intelligent man who knew he was taking a risk with un-prescribed drugs.”
Many of the depressing emotions that Tyrrell was feeling were caused by the number of unfortunate events that had affected his life. His father passed away when he was eight and the death of two childhood friends at a young age. Tyrrell and his wife were living apart at the time of his death and he suffered mental health problems. Tyrrell had previously spoken to friends about ending his life.
There is a drug and alcohol treatment center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida that is taking great concern in the silent drug addiction of the elderly. The baby boomers, which their ages lay within the 50’s and 60’s, grew up in a time where experimenting with recreational drugs was a common activity.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, it is projected that by the year 2020 the number of senior citizens with alcohol and drug problems will soar by 150 percent.
This is not saying that because of their time of experimentation they all became addicts, it’s just as these “baby boomers” enter elderly status; there are many factors that lead to unexpected and dangerous addictions.
In 2009 doctors wrote 128 million prescriptions for hydrocodone-acetaminophen. The senior citizen community deals with general aches and pains, their joints give out and need repair, and require pain medication. With out frequent close management by a physician or family, these prescriptions can soon become a physical dependent.
Loneliness is another factor that leads to addiction in the elderly. There physical or social circumstances affect how they can interact with society, and just like Tyrrell, this can lead to depression and anxiety. These are other culprits, besides aging that lead to elderly drug abuse.
Embarrassment in admitting there is a drug addiction problem, keeps the elderly from getting help. The baby boomers grew up in a social mentality that negatively judges rehab for substance abuse problems.
This is why drug and alcohol treatment center’s like The Recovery Place, are treating not only the elderly, but the family. They are taking time to educate the family to notice symptoms before a loved one becomes physically dependent on pain medication or alcohol.