Back in the Habit: Baby Boomers and Drugs


Harris places the blame partly on the pressures of this stage of life. "Divorce, loss of a job, loss of health, a lot of grief and loss issues," he said. "The good news, according to Harris, is that these older drug users are motivated to break their habit, and have a good success rate."

Some of the increase in drug use in this age group is due to their sheer numbers; an estimated 75 million people were born in the Baby Boom years between 1946 and 1964. Still, some experts say population numbers alone don't explain all of the increase.

"We are concerned that it is going to get worse," said NIDA's Dowling, who adds that older adults metabolize drugs differently, and "even moderate levels of use can have more severe consequences."

Dowling says relatives and even doctors don't often think of drug use if an older adult is acting strangely. "You are more likely to ask your teenage patient than your 50-year-old patient about any drug they may be using."

The government is trying to educate doctors to change that mentality.

For Bee and Jodi, they continue to go to regular support group meetings to help them stay off drugs.

As Jodi puts it, "I went through things I would never want my children to go through. I want to give them a message of recovery."

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