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Elderly at Risk

Prescription and Cannabis Misuse

In an article published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers state that “Psychoactive substance use may be risky for adults with functional impairments.” Those who reported impairment were also more likely to report taking prescription opioids, tranquilizers/sedatives, and using cannabis. The more impairments, the higher the level of use/misuse for each drug. “Impaired thinking was associated with increased odds for the use and misuse of each substance, and impaired ability to do errands was associated with increased odds for prescription opioid misuse.”

First author of the study, Benjamin Han, MD, clinician-researcher in the Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology, and Palliative Care in the Department of Medicine at UC San Diego, commented, “Many older adults use these substances due to chronic pain, insomnia or anxiety — conditions that can affect daily functioning. These symptoms can be challenging to manage, especially in the setting of multiple chronic conditions and other prescribed medications. It is important to recognize that any psychoactive substance may be risky for this vulnerable population.” Further research is called for.

 

Read the journal article.

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