Consequences of Alcohol and Other Drug Use in the Aged

  • Michael J. Eckardt


Older people use more drugs than any other age group. In 1967, for example, approximately 19 million people over the age of 65 in the United States had an estimated 198 million prescriptions filled. An additional 26.9 million prescriptions were obtained from hospitals or mailorder pharmacies. In 1971, it was estimated that about 50% of older Americans drank alcohol, and it has been well documented that the elderly self-administer excessive quantities of nonprescription drugs. These figures emphasize the fact that as we grow older we use large quantities of many different types of chemical compounds. In the following pages, a number of facets that are associated with this enhanced drug use in the aged will be discussed. Specifically, I shall examine possible reasons underlying the greater reliance on, the consequences of, and potential misuse of drugs in the aged. Additional emphasis will be placed on the behavioral and physical effects of alcohol.


Adverse Side Effect Problem Drinker Drug Misuse Social Drinker Nonprescription Drug 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Eckardt
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinical and Biobehavioral Research Branch, Division of Intramural ResearchNational Institute on Alcohol Abuse and AlcoholismRockvilleUSA

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