The Need for Addictions Treatment for the Elderly
Only in the past decade have the special needs of older persons who have alcohol or drug problems been given much consideration. This lack of attention to substance problems of older persons was partially attributable to the low problem rate estimated for this group on the basis of general population surveys. National surveys in the U.S. and Canada have indicated that older persons report the lowest rate of alcohol problems and the highest rate of abstinence compared to other adult age groups (Clark & Midanik, 1982; Health and Welfare Canada, 1990). In addition, illicit drug use is exceedingly rare among older adults (Health and Welfare Canada, 1990). Moreover, surveys of treatment programs have found that older persons are underrepresented in treatment populations (Rush & Tyas, 1990).