Addiction spares no age group, but it often goes undetected in older adults age 65 or older, and its treatment poses age-specific challenges. In this issue, we interview Dr. David Oslin to unpack some of these challenges and talk about screening tools, physiological changes, and psychosocial stressors, as well as general treatment approaches in older adults with substance use disorders.
We also hear from Dr. Rehan Aziz, who offers some handy recommendations on using meds to treat alcohol use disorder in older adults. We chose to focus on alcohol use not only because it’s common, but also because there are relatively fewer age-specific issues in prescribing meds for opioid and nicotine use disorders.
We then take on the perennial question: How much alcohol is too much? Dr. Thomas Jordan addresses this controversy and includes some sobering recent data, then helps us understand how to screen older adults (as well as other patients) for at-risk drinking and tailor our interventions.
Finally, we summarize two recent studies from clinical literature—one reporting that non-opioids may be just as effective as opioids for chronic pain, and the other finding that past cannabis use is associated with becoming addicted to tobacco.
We hope you find these articles informative. Please write with your feedback!