4101.1: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - Board 9

Abstract #9091

The Massachusetts geriatric substance abuse task force: A collaboration addressing an "invisible epidemic"

Ruth S. Grabel, MPA;MDPH1, Ruth Giard, MS1, Jose R. Morales, MSW1, and Jeanne F. Martin, EdD, MSW2. (1) Office of Elder Health, MA Dept. Public Health, 250 Washington St, 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02108, 617-624-5411, ruth.grabel@state.ma.us, (2) Kit Clark Senior Services, Boston, MA

A nationally recognized government panel has described substance abuse in the elderly as an "invisible epidemic", which affects as many as 17% of elders in the U.S. and leads to hundreds of millions in hospital costs. Creative strategies are necessary to address this critical public health problem.

The Massachusetts Geriatric Substance Abuse Task Force is an innovative collaborative effort established in 1987 with the cooperation of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and community providers. The Task Force is one of the few opportunities for representatives of elder service organizations, substance abuse treatment and prevention agencies and consumer groups to participate in developing educational programming and best practices exchange about substance abuse among the elderly. The Task Force's mission is to promote awareness about this under-recognized and under-reported problem. With limited resources the Task Force seeks to promote awareness by:

Together the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Task Force promote awareness, stimulate local agency program development, and foster professional expertise in a unique effort to combat this "invisible" epidemic.

Learning Objectives: To list at least 3 key issues related to the problem of substance abuse and the elderly; to describe strategies for promoting awareness about substance abuse and the elderly; to identify community resources for forming a collaboration to address the issues of substance abuse and the elderly

Keywords: Substance Abuse, Elderly

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: The roundtable will include a discussion of the types of agencies involved in the collaboration -e.g., councils on aging, substance abuse treatment and prevention institutions hospitals, visiting nurse associations, elder consumer advocacy groups, buildin
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