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Older drug addicts are losing the will to live.

Friday, November 20th, 2009 Older drug addicts are losing the will to live.

Suicide rates among addicts over the age of 35 are the highest than any other age demographic, according to research published in Glasgow.

There are around 55,000 drug users in Scotland, of which 15,000 are over the age of 35 and have said that the services offered often ignore their needs.

The Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) has stated that older drug users require more support.

David Liddell, chief executive of SDF, said that older drug addicts have been taking drugs for so long and many of then have ‘given up’.

Many of the older addicts have been addicted to drugs for over 20 years and account for nearly half of the 574 drug-related deaths in 2008.

Of those deaths, 174, (30%) were among 35 to 44-year-olds and 97 (17%) involved people over 45.

The research involved more than 70 drug users and professionals involved in their care.

The findings reveal that older drug users are often overwhelmed by their past experiences and the future barriers they face, which hinders their ability to overcome their drug dependency.

Over 50 per cent of those interviewed as part of the research admitted that they had experienced suicidal thoughts.

David Liddell has expressed his concerns that this piece of research raises more questions about drug-related deaths in Scotland, which reached two record highs last year – 574 deaths attributed to all drug-related deaths, and a second high of 370 deaths among people with a known drug problem.

He said: “We estimate there are about 15,000 older drug users in Scotland, making up about 27% of the 55,000 people with a drug problem in Scotland.

“Yet older drug users aged 35 and over made up 44% (or 162) of the 370 people whose deaths in 2008 were drugs-related and who were known to have a drug problem.

“We also know that long term trends are showing that older drugs users are becoming bigger in percentage terms among the numbers of problem drug users. The percentage of older drug users dying a drug-related death is also increasing steadily.

“What is becoming clear is that older drug users can be badly affected by a range of issues affecting their outlook on life and thus their will to live.”

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