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Prescription and Illicit Drug Abuse is Timely New Topic on NIHSeniorHealth.gov

Cartoon of two older men playing chess outdoors.Data from national surveys reveal a disturbing trend for 50- to 59-year-olds: the number of those reporting past-month abuse of illicit drugs — including the nonmedical use of prescription drugs — more than doubled from 2002 to 2010, going from 907,000 to 2,375,000, or from 2.7 to 5.8 percent in this population. Among those 65 and older, 414,000 used illicit drugs in 2010. A new topic, Prescription and Illicit Drug Abuse, available on NIHSeniorHealth.gov, describes this trend and the effects of medication and drug abuse on older adults.

Prescription and Illicit Drug Abuse is the latest topic to appear on NIHSeniorHealth, joining a roster of nearly 60 research-based health topics of interest to older adults, including exercise and physical activity, safe use of medicines and management of diseases such as stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease. A joint effort of the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine at NIH, NIHSeniorHealth has senior-friendly features such as large print and opened-captioned videos to make the information on the site easy for older adults to see, understand and navigate. Recently redesigned for today’s older adults, NIHSeniorHealth now features a search function that offers users access to an even broader selection of senior-related health information.

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