Background The proportion of Australians aged over 65 years is
increasing. Although screening and treatment for alcohol
and drug issues has traditionally focused on those aged
less than 65 years, there is growing evidence of alcohol and
drug related harm among older people.
Objective This article broadly discusses our current understanding
of alcohol and drug problems among people aged over 65
years, as well as recommended approaches to this issue
within primary care.
Discussion Current prevalence estimates are likely to underestimate
the number of older people with alcohol and drug
misuse. Further, only a small number of older people seek
specialist treatment for alcohol or drug problems, despite
documented harms. Enhanced screening and assessment
practices in primary healthcare settings are critical for
improving health outcomes for older people with substance
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