Getting it on the agenda: older people, the evidence in policy and practice

First published: 09 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019

The needs of older people are increasingly coming to the attention of substance use services but so far those needs have not been on national strategies for service provision.

Some of the need is generated by current practice. Opiate dependent service users are being retained longer in treatment and some are entering older-age in maintenance treatment. Alcohol problems in older age may be linked to social change as well as the longevity of the population and the gradual reduction of barriers to seeking help. The links to psychiatric co-morbidity will also be explored.

The presentation will examine the range of needs and the reasons why such needs have previously been unrecognised. The limited research evidence will be examined along with some local data presented by a trainee.

The presentation will conclude with recommendations for service development at national and local level.


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Dr Daphne Rumball