Is older age associated with reduced drug use/HIV risk behavior among chronic drug users? Interviews were conducted with 3,555 current drug users recruited using street outreach techniques in Miami, Belle Glade, and Immokallee, FL. Comparisons of 185 current users age 50 and over (mean age 54.6, range 50-72) with 3,351 younger users (mean age 34.6, range 17-49) lend support to reduced frequency of drug use among older current users. Fewer of the older drug users were women (15% vs. 28%, p<.10) and fewer older drug users were high school graduates (31% vs. 44%, p<.001). Measures of recent substance use showed no significant differences between older and younger drug users for recent use of alcohol (84%) or crack cocaine (79%), but reduced use for older users for other forms of cocaine 32% vs. 44%, p<.001; heroin 14% vs. 19%, p<.10; marijuana 55% vs. 63%, p<.05; and speedballs 12% vs.19%, p<.05. Fewer older users had injected drugs in the past 30 days (22% vs. 29%, p<.05) but, among injectors, there was no significant difference in the average number of times injected in the preceding month (mean=71). Older drug users were less likely to have had sex in the past 30 days (74% vs. 85%, P<.05), but equally likely to report multiple sex partners (49% vs 51%). Although about half of both groups reported having had other STDs, older users were less likely to test positive for HIV (16% vs. 23%, p<.05).
Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to: (1) Describe differences in frequency of drug use between older chronic drug users and younger users. (2) Describe differences in HIV risk behavior between older chronic drug users and younger users. (3) Assess more accurately substance abuse among persons age 50 and over
Keywords: Elderly, Substance Abuse
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA