Substance Abuse Among Older Adults
Substance abuse is increasing among the older population in the United States, at great human and economic cost. Yet the problem too often remains hidden and misunderstood. Through case examples, assessment questions, and interactive activities, this course brings social service providers and others to an understanding of substance abuse as an issue that affects the older adults in their practice. Included in the discussion are alcohol, nicotine, and medications (illicit, prescription, and over-the-counter). Course participants will learn to recognize substance abuse and to undertake steps to effective identification, referral, and intervention. The course provides opportunities for participants to explore their own attitudes about substance abuse in this population and outlines the latest recommendations on prevention. (4 CEUs)
- Knowledge of the relationship between substance abuse and an older person’s physical and mental status; of the pertinent legal and policy issues; of the community context and the effects on family as well as individuals.
- Understanding of the older adult’s ability to accept help; of one’s own attitudes toward substance abuse; of the older adult’s right to dignity and self-determination; and of the implications for practice of these factors.
- Skills and tools to recognize and assess substance abuse among older adults and to initiate steps toward appropriate resources, referral, and intervention.