Interview on Invisible Addicts

The Royal College of Psychiatrists features a brief interview with Professor Ilana Crome here on substance misuse in older adults. The interview accompanies the release of the Royal College of Psychiatrists report on substance misuse ‘Our Invisible Adults’ in older adults here. Professor Crome highlights some of the important research findings – that 20% of men and 10% of women over the age of 65 are drinking above safe limits for adults, that 5% of people over the age of 45 used illicit drugs within the previous year and that 12% of people over the age of 60 are smoking and she contextualises this within the perspective of future demographic changes. Professor Crome discusses some of the different standards used across studies and details the broad remit of substances which includes prescribed and over the counter medication as well as tobacco, alcohol and illicit substances. Professor Crome advocates the routine screening of older adults for substance misuse problems, that due consideration should be given to considering that substance misuse might be contributing to the presenting problem and encourages older people to utilise the expertise of  physicians, primary care teams and mental health teams in addressing substance misuse problems. This is an important area and the report provides useful information and guidance on this subject.

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