Avoidance of Drug Dependence

The original study utilized data from two qualitative studies (Locks, 2006; Pope, 2007) that focused on older African-Americans at opposite ends of a successful aging continuum to explore the utility of Winick’s (three pronged) Theory of Drug Dependence in predicting drug reliance in a given cohort. Substance abuse among older African-Americans is a significantly understudied problem. Yet, not all who share similar backgrounds succumb to substance abuse. Paradoxically, today usage has shifted from street drugs to prescription drugs in the current opioid crisis. The reason for opioid abuse in older adults is complex. There is data that indicates a disparity in treatment of pain in older black patients has led to a rise in drug seeking behavior and prescription opioid abuse in this community. The previous research findings indicated that all three prongs are necessary to produce drug dependence among members of a cohort; the prongs are easy access, low proscription against use, and role strain/deprivation. However with the current opioid crisis the efficacy of Winick’s theory is doubtful. The non-tautological assumptions of Winick were meant to be applicable to all forms of drug dependence and circumstances. Yet, however, Winick’s second prong, low proscription against use, has become non-operative, as there is a national outcry today against the FDA’s failure to hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable. Current data demonstrates a continued rise in opioid usage despite the public uproar.

Qualitative studies Aging Substance abuse Theory

Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging

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