My Baby Boomer friends drink. All of them. But it’s beer and wine, typically for dinner or occasions like the “19th hole.” I honestly don’t know anyone who consumes hard liquor. A few do smoke marijuana for medical purposes, but no one who I know is into coke or other hard drugs.
However, there apparently are a lot of Boomers who do have drug or alcohol problems, and that number is growing.
As noted recently in the Chicago Tribune:
Researchers see a steady rise in alcohol use and binge drinking – as well as what’s known as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), an umbrella term for mild, moderate and severe abuse of alcohol – in the 65-plus demographic. Between 2005 and 2014, the percentage of older Americans who reported engaging in past-month binge drinking (defined as women consuming four or more drinks in about two hours, and men consuming five or more) increased from 12.5 percent to 14.9 percent, according to the NIAAA. The increase in drinking among older Americans is most pronounced among people with greater levels of education and income, and among women.
The situation gets worse when prescription pain killers, such as opioids, are mixed with alcohol. And I have encountered a few people who admit to taking opioids for medical reasons and are afraid they are hooked. Doesn’t stop them from drinking though.
What are the reasons behind Boomer addictions? Research shows it typically stems from retirement, bereavement, change in home situation, infrequent contact with family and friends, and social isolation. And oddly, it is typically occurring among the better-educated and financially fit Baby Boomers.
About 10% of all baby boomers use prescription drugs non-medically. According to government estimates, more than 5.7 million people over the age of 50 will need substance abuse treatment by 2020.
If you or a family member or friend has an alcohol or drug problem, get help! It’s that simple. The Winter of our lives is meant to be a time of personal growth, exploration and deepening love. Don’t waste this precious time. And don’t turn your legacy into an ugly memory.
Alcoholics and druggies are no fun to be around. They are a burden to all. But there are successful programs to help Boomers who have problems. Show your love by extending aid and a helping hand to guide them to recovery.
Learn more about Baby Boomer addiction and treatments by reviewing these websites: