Prevention Topics

Older Adult Substance Misuse Prevention

While many prevention efforts focus on the younger populations, it is also important to focus on the substance use issues that face older populations. In 2017, the AARP reported that older adults misuse painkillers more than any other drug. Prevention strategies that work for younger populations will not always work for older adults, so it’s vital to design part of your prevention strategy to specifically target this population.

Below are some resources to help you identify strategies to prevent older adult substance misuse in your community.

National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence

The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) is an advocacy organization that addresses alcoholism and drug dependence.

National Institute on Drug Abuse

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA, has adopted the mission, "to advance science on the causes and consequences of drug use and addiction and to apply that knowledge to improve individual and public health." NIDA’s website offers support by highlighting research on drug use and its consequences, and sharing this information to help prevention and treat substance use disorders and to increase public awareness of addiction. Find them at

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has dedicated the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as their agency leading public health efforts and advance behavioral health across the United States. Their mission is "to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. Get to know SAMHSA and all they offer at


2.5 Million

2.5 Million Older Adults Have an Alcohol or Drug Problem

  • Widowers over the age of 75 have the highest rate of alcoholism in the U.S.
  • Nearly 50 percent of nursing home residents have alcohol related problems.
  • Older adults are hospitalized as often for alcoholic related problems as for heart attacks.

Source: Alcohol, Drug Dependence and Seniors

Related Content:
Related Resources: