Monday, October 10, 2005

DARE Program for Old Hippies

The LA Times has an article that reports that the overdose rate among 40+ year olds is rising dramatically:


The overdose death rate in California was up 73% over 1990 in the total population, while it declined in younger population. So what is driving the increase:

Remarkably, the rate of deadly overdoses among younger users over that period has slightly declined, while the rate among those 40 and older has jumped from 8.6 to 17.3 per hundred thousand people.

The counter culture sixties & seventies that brought drug use into the mainstream and made it almost a passage of youth for a time, seems to have a lasting legacy:

Some experts suggest, however, that California is merely reflecting a national trend in which Americans increasingly are using illicit drugs long past the days of youthful resilience. According to the U.S. Substance and Mental Health Services Administration, more than a third of drug users today are older than 35, compared with 12% in 1979.

"Baby boomers are the first generation that is facing a drug and overdose epidemic in their middle age," said John Newmeyer, epidemiologist and drug researcher at the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinics in San Francisco. "They started using drugs recreationally or regularly over 20 years ago, and they aren't really slowing down."

Old hippies who maintained drugs as part of their ongoing culture, are leaving us at a much faster rate compared to the balance of the boomers, and only slowing down when it all fades to black………..