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Older adults and the opioid epidemic

Headlines all across the country are reporting the dangers of the opioid epidemic.  Opioids are narcotics that are generally prescribed for pain relief, and some argue that over-prescription is at the root of this issue.  Although many assume that opioid abuse is occurring in younger individuals, it may be surprising to learn how this epidemic has effected the older adult population. According to an article in the Washington Post, opioid use has almost doubled in adults over 50 years of age, with one in three people with a Medicare prescription plan having an opiate prescribed to them (read the Washington Post’s article here). Although there are many questions posed by this epidemic, one thing is certain: it’s not just effecting youth.