Aging baby boomers are reportedly using opioid pain relievers more and more to cope. Sure, we knew boomers were big users of marijuana, but now the opioid epidemic has us realizing that they want a quick fix for pain. Problem is, those with a predilection for addiction, can’t stop taking the pills once they start. The all encompassing warmth of an opioid high leads them to doctor shop and pharmacy hop.
It’s harder to peg older adults as abusers initially, because, well… they are old! Older people are assumed to be suffering more from aches and pains. Therefore, they get a pass. That pass can be the first salvo in a long trip down a bumpy road with the potential of a “dead end.” Physicians, nurses and pharmacists need to spend extra time with boomers, to help explain the dangers of opioid abuse. Alternative therapies need to be explored as well. Yoga, physical therapy, massage etc.
We are a country that believes too much in an instant fix and that if you have your health, you have everything. Well, I hate to break it to everyone, but you will all suffer at some point. Not every ounce of pain can be taken away by a pill. Too much faith in an overburdened medical system that may want to throw an Rx at you to get you out the door so they can get on to the next patient is misplaced. As a drug counselor and attorney, I have seen it in both of my fields, and it needs to be addressed.