Although illicit drug use is relatively rare among older adults compared to younger adults and adolescents, there is increasing evidence that prescription drug misuse and abuse is a growing problem in the older population. People over the age of 65 take more medications (prescription and over-the-counter)
Alcohol and prescription drug misuse may affect as many as 17 percent of older adults, according to reports from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Emergency department (ED) visits involving drug misuse and abuse by adults aged 50 or older more than doubled between 2004 and 2008. One-fifth of ED visits were made by persons aged 70 or older; narcotic pain relievers were most commonly involved, followed by drugs used to treat anxiety or insomnia and antidepressants. Nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs among adults aged 50 years and older is projected to double over two decades, to 2.7 million by the year 2020, with 4.4 million in need of substance abuse treatment.
Persons ages 65 and older make up less than 15 percent of the population but they consume about one-third of all prescription medications. “Increased medication use affords the opportunity for older adults to accidentally or intentionally misuse prescription medications, and the physiologic and psycho-social changes that accompany the aging process make seniors uniquely vulnerable to substance abuse problems,” said Marsha Meyer, PharmD, CGP, a California-based senior care pharmacist who contributed to the development of the Tool Kit. “Older adults and their families and caregivers are often uninformed about the potential for misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, and there is a lack of education about the problem among physicians, pharmacists and community-based senior services providers.”
The STAMP Out Prescription Drug Misuse & Abuse! Tool Kit is intended to help older adults make the best use of their medicines, and educate consumers, families and caregivers of older adults, and community-based senior services providers about prescription drug misuse and abuse, including risk factors, signs and symptoms, and prevention strategies.
“Addressing the factors related to willful and inadvertent misuse of prescription medication, as well as education for families and caregivers about the abuse potential of certain medications and the early warning signs of abuse, is a necessary part of prevention and early intervention,”
The STAMP Out Prescription Drug Misuse & Abuse! Tool Kit, available at http://www.ascp.com/
• Background information on prescription drug abuse and misuse in older adults for the presenter.
• Getting Started – directions for the use of Tool Kit materials and tips for planning a presentation.
• Program Flyer – to promote the presentation.
• PowerPoint Slides – with speaker notes and key teaching points.
• Key Messages – from the presentation and resources regarding prescription drug misuse and abuse and safe disposal of prescription drugs.
• Self-Assessment Quiz and Answer Key
• Program Evaluation
• Personal Medication List – template for recording a complete medication list.
• I Have a New Medicine – to assist in gathering information on new prescriptions to aid in medication adherence.
The STAMP Out Prescription Drug Misuse & Abuse! Tool Kit was introduced at the National Area Agencies on Aging Annual Conference on July 10, in Denver, Colorado, and is supported by an educational grant from Purdue Pharma L.P.
The ASCP Foundation has a proven track record of developing practical interventions for improving medication use in the senior population. The mission of the ASCP Foundation is to improve the health and well being of older adults through appropriate, effective, and safe medication use. The unique focus of the ASCP Foundation is the development, integration, and application of knowledge regarding medication use in the senior population and the practice of senior care pharmacy to optimize health outcomes. The ASCP Foundation has a history of leadership, innovation, and expertise in medicines and aging; and has collaborated with numerous organizations to address the information and education needs of consumers, families, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and the aging network regarding medication use.
The ASCP Foundation is the research and education affiliate of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists – the international professional association that provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to advance the practice of senior care pharmacy. In their role as medication therapy experts, consultant pharmacists take responsibility for their patients' medication-related needs; ensure that their patients' medications are the most appropriate, the most effective, the safest possible, and are used correctly; and identify, resolve, and prevent medication-related problems that may interfere with the goals of therapy. ASCP's more than 7,000 members manage and improve drug therapy and improve the quality of life of geriatric patients and other individuals residing in a variety of environments, including nursing facilities, subacute care and assisted living facilities, psychiatric hospitals, hospice programs, and in home and community-based care.