Why Is Mom in Rehab? by Charles Blow, New York Times:
Ms. O’Neal illustrates a disturbing trend among those being admitted to substance abuse treatment services: a growing percentage of older women are being treated for harder drugs.
Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revealed that the total number of admissions to treatment services from 1996 to 2005 (the last year for which detailed data are available) stayed about the same among people under 40, but jumped 52 percent among those 40 and older. Of the 40 and older group, the rise in admissions among men was 44 percent. Among women, it was 82 percent.
This report reveals that of the 25.6 million women over 59 in the United States, 4.4 million (17 percent) are addicted to nicotine, some 1.8 million (seven percent) abuse alcohol; and about 2.8 million (11 percent) abuse psychoactive drugs. Mature women are more likely to be hospitalized for substance abuse-related problems than for heart attacks. The substance abuse-related ailments and accidents they suffer will result in some $30 billion in health care bills in 1998 and on our present course, will top $100 billion a year in 20 years. Premature death from smoking and abuse of alcohol and psychoactive prescription drugs robs mature women of at least 15 million years of life and millions of years more of independent living.
Related: A Paper Life by Tatum O’Neal