Elderly Hooked on Prescription Pills [AUDIO]
"Addiction Does Not Discriminate" is the slogan for New Jersey's latest campaign against the opiate abuse epidemic, sending the message that no one is immune to this deadly drug problem - not even the state's senior citizens.
At Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, the psychiatry department's Dr. Roman Solhkhah indicated the issue with prescription drug abuse is striking at both ends of the age spectrum.
"Kids and young adults are getting (prescription drugs) from their grandparents, and of course, it's the grandparents who have them in the first place, and they're increasingly getting hooked as well," Solhkhah said.
Solhkhah praised the progress of medicine for being able to offer quick relief for everything from joint pain to anxiety, but he noted there's this "unintended consequence" of addiction.
"We've seen patients, in particular the elderly…Somehow it's not a successful doctor's visit if you don't walk out of there with a prescription," he said. "No one wants to be told, 'Gee, ice it, or heat pack, or take it easy.'"
Fortunately, doctors tend to be more cautious when consistently prescribing medication to their older patients. Many have a harder time metabolizing the drugs due to other medical conditions. Solhkhah said for this reason, the addiction takes a bit longer to develop, "unlike any young kid, where you can see the problem escalate very quickly."