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Generational Trends of Substance Abuse

When it comes to confronting someone about their addition to drugs and/or alcohol, it is imperative to understand the generational trends of substance abuse. The differences in these trends will provide you with the right approach to take, which is paramount in hosting a successful crisis intervention. Whether it is a family intervention for alcoholism, drug abuse, or other forms of addiction, knowing the facts about how the generations abuse substances can make the difference.

To clearly understand the trends, you should look at Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y.

Baby Boomers Started Multiple Addiction Trends

baby boomers - generational trends pf substance abuseBaby Boomers are those who were born between 1946 and 1964. Before this generation, people didn’t readily abuse illegal drugs. Baby Boomers, however, came along and changed the landscape of what addiction is all about; they were the first generation to start abusing alcohol, legal medications and illegal drugs.

Fortunately, though, this generation tends to be extremely open to receiving treatment for their addictions, which is most likely because they have gotten to a point in which they are enduring major health complications due to extended drug and alcohol abuse.

Generation X Leans More Toward Daily Alcohol Abuse

The same as baby boomers, Gen X likes to consume alcohol; however, instead of being binge drinkers, this newer generation prefers to drink heavily on a frequent, sometimes daily, basis. In regards to illegal drugs, Gen X prefers club drugs, including ecstasy and LSD. They also prefer smoking marijuana, and they have the highest rate of cigarette-related health complications.

In 2003, the Drug Abuse Warning Network of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released a finding stating that baby boomers and Gen X — ages 35-54 — “accounted for more than half of the drug misuse deaths in 30 metropolitan areas, and three fourths of such deaths in Detroit; Milwaukee; and Washington, DC.” This gives clear indication that in regards to generational trends of substance abuse, drug misuse issues are prevalent in older generations.

Generation Y Has it the Worst

generation y - generational trendsAs of right now, Gen Y has it the worst. Anything goes within this generation of young adults and teens. Addicts in this generation are more likely to drink, both on a binge and daily basis. They are also more prone to abuse hard drugs, including heroin, methamphetamine and synthetic marijuana, all of which have high rates of death.

Because Gen Y is still young, many of them have yet to endure health complications from their drug use, thus leading them to believe their addictions are causing no problems in their lives. Also, this generation finds that abusing drugs and alcohol to be perfectly socially acceptable. In comparison to other generational trends in substance abuse, the Y generation are more into experimentation than the older generations.

And being that seeking treatment does not tend to occur until 10 years later after becoming addicted, many of the people in Gen Y have not yet reached that 10-year mark.

The Takeaway

Baby Boomers are most likely to be addicted to alcohol, which means you will likely need to host a crisis intervention centered around directing the alcoholic toward a treatment center that specializes in treating alcoholism.

Gen X is greatly in need of professional intervention services as they are among the generations that are seeing the highest rates of death due to addiction-related issues. And lastly, Gen Y is already socially acceptable of just about any alcohol and drug abuse practice, meaning much treatment is expected to needed by those who fall within this generation.

If you or someone you know is looking for help with substance abuse, our professional intervention services are available nationwide, 24 hours a day. When you work with Intervention Services, Inc., you’re working with the best.

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