Tuesday, May 23, 2006

America's elderly face growing drug addiction problem

BOSTON (Reuters) - When Patrick Gallagher first began nodding off at dinner, his family thought it was a symptom of old age. Their fears grew as it worsened. Withdrawing from the world at age 64, Gallagher was addicted to a cocktail of alcohol and prescription painkillers. "My whole life was centered around making sure I had an adequate supply of drugs and alcohol," said the former instructor at the University of Miami. Gallagher, of Jensen Beach, Florida, is an elderly substance abuser, a fast-growing group in the United States as baby boomers age. .

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