Free Essay Sample - Older Adults and Substance Abuse

Published: 2023-01-19
Free Essay Sample - Older Adults and Substance Abuse
Type of paper:  Case study
Categories:  Substance abuse Community health Drug abuse Lifespan development
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 971 words
9 min read

Tackling drug and substance abuse is not an easy task especially so if one is economically disadvantaged, aging and has psychological issues. The case of Susan Olin is a typical example of an individual with such difficulties, struggling to keep up with the treatment of drug addiction. A study of her situation helps with the discussion of the challenge of policies that serve as a barrier to the poor, disenfranchised, and vulnerable who are in dire need of treatment.

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Medicare does not have a distinct benefit category for the treatment of substance abuse. It offers those services in very necessary and reasonable situations ("Medicare Coverage for Drug Treatment Centers", 2019). In these cases, inpatient and outpatient services are available, part A and part B treatment respectively. There is also a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), an outpatient psychiatric treatment program provided as an alternative to inpatient treatment. The services offered include psychotherapy with mental health professionals, occupational therapy, medical diagnosis, activity therapy, and family counseling. Medicare also offers treatment by services suppliers under the Medicare Part B program including clinical psychologists, physicians, and nurses. For individuals with non-dependent substance use, Medicare uses Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) services. This approach aims at preventing the harmful consequences of substance use and is also used in the primary treatment of drug abusers. There is also a part D coverage where medication used in treating disorders caused by substance use and opioid dependence.

Many organizations formed to tackle drug and substance abuse mostly focus on young and middle-aged people, neglecting the older group suffering from addiction. There are, however, a few who recognize this and offer help to them. One example is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) ("Substance Use Treatment for Older Adults | SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration", 2019). This program was formed in 2002 to address the needs of individuals at the age of 50 and above. Another one is the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). This organization is based in the united states and does medical research on alcohol abuse (Holahan et al, 2017).

Age, race, or ethnicity affect decisions on treatment methods, that is whether substance users are referred to programs aiming for abstinence or to those focused on harm reduction. With age, immunity deteriorates and, in some instances, harm reduction may be preferred to abstinence to avoid the harmful effects of dependency (Satre, Chi, Mertens, & Weisner, 2012). Regarding race and ethnicity, there are observed disparities in response to drug treatment referrals evident in research. African Americans and Hispanic Americans were likely to report "less care than needed or delayed care" compared with white Americans according to research conducted (Delphin-Rittmon et al, 2012).

There are many factors that led to people who use substance abuse to be denied disability benefits by the SSDI and SSI. One of the factors is that SSI considered drug addiction as a material factor that influences their disability. This implies that for a person to be considered disabled if the applicant has a medical condition that is not influenced or made worse through substance abuse. The SSI also considered the sereneness of the medication and hence drug and substance abuse did not meet the social security requirements for medical harshness (French & Song, 2014). The assumption that drug abuse is done intentionally is one of the factors which prompted them to deny the policy.

Advocacy Agenda on Substance Abuse Services for Elderly Adults

Charitable substance abuse services organizations are dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly struggling to recover from drug and substance abuse. This one way of improving the economy and strengthens communities. Cuts policy for these serves by the federal is consequently critical for these service performances and hence problem implementing solutions to the elderly problem in drug and substance abuse. My advocacy is that the government should not cut these services because the substance abuse services contribute to the economy and the are commit tend to strengthen the wellbeing of the elderly experiencing this problem. In practice aspect, the reason for my advocacy agenda is because substance abuse services are committed to supporting and enhancing the life substance abuse especially the elderly; and educating the elderly on the best way to avoid drugs and substance abuse.

There are various groups that I can partner within development legislation to assist the older adults with alcohol and substance abuse problems. Examples of these support groups are AL-Anon family Groups, Nar-Anon family Groups, GRASP, Learn to Cope, Smart Recovery Family, and Friends. These groups advocate supporting elderly adults recover from drug and substance abuse because in the United States community.


French, E., & Song, J. (2014). The effect of disability insurance receipt on labor supply. American Economic Journal: economic policy, 6(2), 291-337.

Delphin-Rittman, M., Andres-Hyman, R., Flanagan, E. H., Ortiz, J., Amer, M. M., & Davidson, L. (2012). Racial-ethnic differences in referral source, diagnosis, and length of stay in inpatient substance abuse treatment. Psychiatric Services, 63(6), 612-615.

Satre, D. D., Chi, F. W., Mertens, J. R., & Weisner, C. M. (2012). Effects of age and life transitions on alcohol and drug treatment outcome over nine years. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 73(3), 459-468.

Holahan, C. J., Brennan, P. L., Schutte, K. K., Holahan, C. K., Hixon, J. G., & Moos, R. H. (2017). Late-life drinking problems: the predictive roles of drinking level vs. drinking pattern. Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs, 78(3), 435-441.

Substance Use Treatment for Older Adults | SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Retrieved from

Medicare Coverage for Drug Treatment Centers. (2019). Retrieved from

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