Although the media is teeming with coverage of the heroin epidemic impacting our nation’s youth, little attention is pain to the impact of opioids on the older population. It is no surprise to those of us in the addiction field that older Americans are also struggling with opioid addiction at an increasingly high rate. Prince’s death brings this to the forefront of the news, but undoubtedly this is and has been occurring in every town across the United States. At AToN Center, we see it often, and it is just as often a middle age professional seeking assistance as it is a 20-something failure to launch.
Outside the scope of this article are the numerous problems with our medical system. Including the over reliance on medications and a quick fix. We often see incoming residents on combinations of opioids with benzodiazepines, many not having any indication of their addiction potential or contraindications with other medications.
An additional challenge is working within a health insurance system that makes it easier and cheaper to get opioid medications than a massage, acupuncture or personal training, all holistic techniques that would support chronic pain treatment versus reliance on drugs. At AToN Center our goal is to help those with addiction identify and treat the underlying causes in order to have lasting recovery and a fulfilling life, not necessarily a quick fix but a lasting one.