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Study: Senior citizen drug abuse quadrupled in 2 decades

Study: Senior drug abuse quadruples over 2 decades
Study: Senior drug abuse quadruples over 2 decades 01:02

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A recent study reveals drug overdose deaths among older Americans have quadrupled over the past two decades.

Alcohol abuse is also increasing in this age group.

Those alarming stats are prompting the Senate Aging Committee to investigate why abuse is on the rise and how older Americans can get help.

Senators learned a large portion of the drug overdose deaths among seniors are attributable to the use of synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl.

One of the nation's former drug czars testified that at least 110,000 Americans died of overdoses in 2022.

"This equates to someone dying every five minutes. It's a major airliner going down every single day. It's 911 happening every 10 days. this is just not acceptable. Older adults are not immune," said Former Drug Czar James W. Carroll. 

Senators agree expanding substance abuse treatment in Medicaid and Medicare coverage could help save lives in a population that society often fails to consider.

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