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Are drugs of abuse more likely to harm me as I get older?

Seth  Jaffe
Addiction Medicine
Unfortunately as we grow older our tolerance for drugs/alcohol grows weaker and more fragile. Any opioid narcotic. stimulant, alcohol, etc., will be more damaging to the health of an older person. We all have struggles in our lives whether we are young or old, they're just different kinds of struggles. We change the way we feel when we put any type of drug (including alcohol) into our bodies. The change is usually feeling better, lighter, being able to handle those struggles easier or not caring about those struggles as much. Once we realize that we can feel better by simply swallowing a pill, snorting a powder or having a drink or two, we open the doors to the possibility of substance abuse and addiction. There are those of us who have the proclivity to addiction and in those cases addiction is always around the corner.
Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
Neuroscientists speculate that changes in brain chemistry and function that come with aging alter the effects of drugs of abuse, but they do not yet know how. They do know, however, that older people metabolize drugs less efficiently than their younger counterparts, so it is easier for older people to overdose. In addition, older people often have medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to the harmful effects of drugs of abuse, and they often take medications that can interact with drugs of abuse. For example, stimulants can speed up your heart, an effect that might be magnified for an older person with high blood pressure.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.