Still Tokin': 4 Million Adults Over 50 Still Get High

Drugs: They're not just for young people. Old people are getting high in record numbers. A new government study suggests more than 4 million Americans over the age of 50 still smoke pot and abuse prescription drugs, a finding that should surprise no one. Especially if you know ex-hippies. 

Baby boomers who came of age in the freewheeling '60s and '70s can't seem to give up their beloved pot, and marijuana use in the over-the-hill set is most prevalent among 50-somethings. Meanwhile, Grandma might have a nasty Xanax habit, for prescription drug abuse is highest among those 65 and older. But the olds are steering clear of the harder stuff, with just 0.5 percent reporting using cocaine in the past year, and just 0.1 percent for most other harder drugs. 

In fact, the rate of drug abuse in the age group has almost doubled between 2002 and 2007.

"You have both prescription drugs being used that people can become addicted to and also people who have had a pattern of use from before," Dr. Ihsan M. Salloum, chief of the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Treatment and Research at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, tells Health News

Though alcohol abuse is still the most prevalent abused substance in that age group, health officials are worried the surge in drug use among the elderly could put strains on treatment resources.  

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.