Senior Drug Addiction- Part One 

Maine is aging faster than any other state, with 16 percent of our population 65 years and older.We also hold the title for the highest number of residents seeking treatment for opiate addiction.When you picture someone addicted to prescription pills, typically a senior citizen doesn’t come to mind.But there are an alarming number of older people in Maine who are battling this very addiction.Experts say it’s not so much about abuse, but more about the misuse of the drugs.Joy Hollowell has a special report on why a combination of the two is cause for concern.====”On average over the course of a year, someone 65 years of age or older takes 20 or more different prescription drugs,” says Len Kaye, Director of the UMaine Center on Aging.Mixing them with alcohol or homeopathic remedies, the wrong combination of pills, or even taking them at the wrong time, can lead a senior to become addicted to drugs.”Unfortunately, older adults probably are at greatest risk of not using drugs as directed because they don’t ask all the questions that they need to ask when they see their doctor,” says Kaye.Certain prescriptions, according to Kaye, like sleeping pills or anti-anxiety medications, wave a red flag.”This class of Benzodiazepines is really a group of drugs that we should be very, very worried about because older adults are prescribed them left and right and you really shouldn’t be on them for long periods of time, longer than 8 weeks,” he says.