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South Florida Sees Rise in Number of Opioid-Addicted Seniors
The centers, which are located in the counties of Lee and Collier that serve home to over 260,000 seniors, have noticed an increase in painkiller addiction particularly among aging Baby Boomers.
One of these baby boomers was Moya Chase of Macro Island whose story paints a grim picture of South Florida’s growing elderly drug addiction epidemic. Chase got hold of drugs for post-operative pain following a knee replacement surgery and had since become addicted to them.
"As soon as my husband brought the pills in my room and put them on my nightstand I knew this was party time, and I was going to live in a fog," Chase, whose addiction lasted for two years, told WTSP 10 News. "It could have been longer. It's blurry," she said of the experience. Chase took a liking to oxycodone, a highly habit-forming painkiller.
Apart from her opioid use, Chase also started abusing alcohol.
Alcohol use is also common in seniors who have substance abuse problems. In fact, 4 out of 5 older adults treated for substance abuse were also identified as alcohol-dependent, data from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) showed.
But Chase’s story was just a footnote in America’s ongoing saga against the growing substance abuse trend among the elderly over the last 20 years, the article noted. The article added that while substance abuse occurs less with age, government data suggest that the number of adults aged 50 and above seeking treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse are seen to reach 5.7 million by 2020. Out of this number, 2 million are aged 65 and older.
NCADD revealed that this age group is particularly susceptible to addiction not because the seniors have easier access to prescribed medications, but because they are physically vulnerable to the side-effects of alcohol and drugs.
Treatment centers are trying their best to respond to South Florida’s elderly drug addiction problem though.
Hazelden, a non-profit organization that operates several addiction treatment facilities in the United States, has opened a chapter in Naples for the inpatient and outpatient treatment of elderly addicts in November. The treatment program costs $20,000 and is not shouldered by Medicare and Medicaid, although some private insurance providers offer coverage for a percentage of the costs.
In Southwest Florida, Salus Care, which is located in Fort Myers, meanwhile focuses on working with addicted seniors of low-income background as well asolder Medicaidbeneficiaries. The organization works with Family Health Centers in the area.
Meanwhile, elderly addicts based outside Florida can benefit from dependency prevention and treatment programs offered by rehabilitation companies such as BioCorRx, Inc. (OTC: BICX), which developed the Start Fresh Program for treating alcohol and opioid addiction.Their program is currently offered by addiction facilities in California, Arizona, Nebraska, and Connecticut with planned availability soon in the District of Columbia, North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. “We also hope to establish program availability in Florida in the near future. There is a great need for help in that state and we have begun to evaluate our options there” said Brady Granier, COO of BioCorRx.
According to the company’s website, BioCorRx, Inc. combines the use of a biodegradable time-release Naltrexone implant and psycho-social coaching in its Start Fresh Program to address alcohol and drug addiction.
Naltrexone has been scientifically proven in successfully treating alcoholics and addicts, especially those who have not completely recovered from common alcohol and opioid addiction treatment modalities. The FDA-approved drug works by curbing the addict’s physical cravings for the long-term.Start Fresh Program’s implant formulation of the drug is inserted under the patient’s lower abdomen through an outpatient procedure.