In his letter in Saturday’s New York Times, Odyssey House President Dr. Peter Provet writes that the number of those who fit the criteria for substance abuse is expected to double in the next five years.
The people included in ” More Older Adults Are Struggling With Substance Abuse” (Business Day, Oct. 4) are to be commended for coming forward to speak about a growing problem that affects the well-being of millions of Americans.
For too long, addiction has been dismissed as a moral failing, and sufferers have been blamed, shunned and arrested. The stigma of addiction is such that many older people whose lives have unraveled because of alcohol and/or drug abuse do not get the help they need until a crisis alerts caregivers to the urgency of the situation.
For the lucky few with access to private insurance or resources to pay for treatment, the prognosis is positive, and the long-term health, economic and family struggles can be reversed. But this is not the case for the overwhelming majority of older adults, and the situation is likely to get worse, as the number of those who fit the criteria for substance abuse is expected to double over the next five years.
Public treatment programs that offer a range of low-cost residential, outpatient and peer recovery services are a necessary and wise investment.
President and Chief Executive