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Substance misuse and older people: a question of values 

Substance misuse and older people: a question of values
Substance misuse and older people: a question of values

Ilana Crome

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date: 27 September 2021

Key points

Substances are drugs that alter mental state and are potentially addictive.

Substance abuse is not confined to the younger population; it is also prevalent in older people—alcohol and prescription drugs are the most commonly misused in this population.

The possibility of substance misuse should not be dismissed because of the patient’s age.

Recommended alcohol limits are likely to be lower than for younger adults.

Risk factors differ for older people, e.g. bereavement, retirement, loneliness, boredom.

Substance misuse is often accompanied by other mental and physical disorders.

Older people can improve with treatment so should be comprehensively assessed and offered evidence-based treatment regimes that are adjusted to take their special needs into account.

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