A new spotlight report by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates that opioid misuse among adults aged 50 or older in 2014 was higher than 2002. The misuse of opioids includes either the use of heroin or the nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers.
According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), about 9.5 million adults aged 18 or older misused opioids in the past year. About 2.0 percent of adults aged 50 or older misused opioids in the past year, while 8.1 percent of young adults aged 18 and 25 misused opioids in the past year.
The good news is that opioid misuse among young adults decreased from 11.5 percent in 2002 to 8.1 percent in 2014. However, the NSDUH data suggest opioid misuse is increasing among older adults. Opioid misuse among older adults increased from 1.1 percent in 2002 to 2.0 percent in 2014.