Understanding Opioid Related Health Issues Among Older Adults

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The financial and healthcare struggles older adults face from opioid misuse have many consequences. Unemployment and employment instability can damage an older adult’s financial and healthcare savings. Providing more opioid prevention and recovery opportunities for older adults could have long-term health implications. This population’s unique needs are important considerations among healthcare providers, community-based organizations, and policymakers. The stigma of opioid misuse can prevent older adults from seeking out services and resources. Mental health problems can lead to opioid misuse as a coping mechanism. The limited availability of mental health professionals creates challenges in developing other coping mechanisms besides opioid misuse and healing from addiction. The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the need to address this issue. Recent settlement funds can be used to support policies and programs that address the specific needs of older adults who may be at risk for or already struggling with opioid addiction.