According to a study recently published by the American Psychological Association, about 50 percent of substance abuse counselors believe that it’s acceptable for some alcohol abusers* to have an occasional drink as an intermediate or final treatment goal. When it comes to drug abusers, about half of counselors accept moderate drug use as an intermediate treatment goal, while only one-third of counselors accept it as a final goal.*It should be noted that this survey question referred to “alcohol abusers” not “alcohol dependent individuals (fully addicted).
A government report released earlier this year predicts that by 2020 the number of adults over age 50 in need of substance abuse treatment will double from the current annual average of 2.8 million to an estimated 5.7 million per year. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also reports that treatment admissions doubled in adults age 50 and over between 1992 and 2008.
Unlike teenagers and young adults who may abuse drugs and alcohol because they are seeking adventure, one of the leading causes of substance abuse for older adults is depression. According to the Administration on Aging, many of the changes that are associated with growing older in America can lead to depression. These changes involve a combination of physical, social, psychological and vocational issues.
Throughout history people have used and abused drugs and alcohol in various forms. There has been drug abuse as far back as there has been availability of substances to change the way people feel.
People throughout history have used drugs and alcohol for medicine, recreation, and even ritualistic reasons. There is always a segment of the population that will abuse them. The abuse of illegal drugs has always reached across race, gender, and social-economic status.