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  1. Spucky
    Keith Richards and Ozzy Osbourne may now be clean, but there are a hidden generation of ageing heroin users in their 50s and 60s who have not been able to kick the habit.

    The European drugs agency say there are more than a million problem drug users aged over 40 across the EU, including 122,000 in Britain, who dent the widely held perception that drug use is a youth phenomenon.
    "In reality, more older people than ever are reporting experience with drugs at some point in their lives and drug problems have no age limits," said the annual report of the European monitoring centre for drugs and drug addiction, published today.

    The agency says about a million people across Europe aged 45 to 64 have used cannabis alone in the last year. While they have not "matured out" of drug use, this is far below levels in the US where nearly 10% of the 50 to 59 age group — the 60s generation — regularly use cannabis.

    There is a further group of nearly a million older problem drug users, including 122,000 in Britain aged between 35 and 64 who use heroin and crack, who first became dependent in the 1980s and 1990s. Many have tried detox and methadone substitution but have not managed to stop.
    Wolfgang Götz, director of the agency, said that while the Rolling Stone, Keith Richards, says he is clean, many older drug users face a life of repeated overdoses with chronic health implications. They are prematurely experiencing the health problems faced by people 20 years older. Denmark and Germany are among countries developing specialist nursing or retirement homes for older drug users .

    source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/nov/10/europe-heroin-users-ageing


  1. sparkling_star
    First off, is long term cannabis use a problem? Does that make someone a drug addict, especially if they are now prescribed it in the U.S.? Perhaps that's up for debate, but SWIM doesn't think this article should have included marijuana in their stats.

    Now, the aging heroin (and crack) population is interesting. But what this article fails to mention is the flip side of this story, which is that many of those older heroin addicts are considered fully functioning and when they are able to get their drugs legally, they are no real problem to society. Of course, the one issue that is relevant is the health problems not usually seen in certain age groups. That could be relevant or maybe they would rather die a few years earlier and be happier (some people have mentioned that argument--you can decide how you feel).

    SWIM simply wanted to point out an alternative idea to this problem. Maybe it is a widespread problem, but maybe it's not a problem in the way this article sets it up to be.

    You can find discussions on this in articles like:
    "Prescription of Heroin for the Management of Heroin Dependence" by Nicholas Lintzeris in CNS Drugs
    "Changes in the use of medical services and prescription drugs among heroin users over two years" by Darke et al. in Drug and Alcohol Review
    Ribeaud, D. (2004). LONG-TERM IMPACTS OF THE SWISS HEROIN PRESCRIPTION TRIALS ON CRIME OF TREATED HEROIN USERS. Journal of Drug Issues, 34(1), 163-194. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.
    And of course Saying Yes by Jacob Sullum
  2. Spucky
    AW: Million plus in Europe's 60s generation of ageing drug addicts, report finds

    I know the first 3. Study's well and some more which discuss the Heroin-Program,
    i don't have any ethical reasons to denied this Medical Treatment,
    all this Programs are the reason why the Drug-User get older!

    The Problem is that our "Help-System" is not jet ready for the Group of the Oldies with their special needs, a IDU. at the age of 50-75 have total different Problems than the young ones, this start with a different HCV Symptomatik
    and will be not be finished with a Wheelchair access!

    I don't see a Cannabis use as a (big) problem when the People are old enough to decide by and for them self,
    a discussion about the access to clean Drugs is futile!
  3. Killa Weigha
    Like Alan Arkin said in Little Miss Sunshine after being busted by his son and granddaughter for snorting heroin, "When you're old you're crazy not to do it".
    Maybe SWIM will change his mind by then (he's clean now and plans to stay that way in the near-medium term) but for now wonders "can I get on that waiting list for the old folks' home for partiers"?
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