Alcohol, Tobacco, and Nonmedical Drug Use in Older U.S. Adults: Data from the 2001/02 National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions

Authors

  • Alison A. Moore MD, MPH,

    1. From the *Division of Geriatric Medicine, Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; and Division of Geriatric Medicine, Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Mitchell P. Karno PhD,

    1. From the *Division of Geriatric Medicine, Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; and Division of Geriatric Medicine, Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Christine E. Grella PhD,

    1. From the *Division of Geriatric Medicine, Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; and Division of Geriatric Medicine, Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • James C. Lin MBA, MD,

    1. From the *Division of Geriatric Medicine, Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; and Division of Geriatric Medicine, Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Umme Warda MS,

    1. From the *Division of Geriatric Medicine, Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; and Division of Geriatric Medicine, Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Diana H. Liao MS,

    1. From the *Division of Geriatric Medicine, Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; and Division of Geriatric Medicine, Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Peifeng Hu PhD, MD

    1. From the *Division of Geriatric Medicine, Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; and Division of Geriatric Medicine, Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California.
    Search for more papers by this author

Address correspondence to Alison A. Moore, Division of Geriatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 10945 Le Conte Avenue, Suite 2339, Los Angeles, CA 90095. E-mail: aamoore@mednet.ucla.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To examine the prevalence and sociodemographic and health-related correlates of substance use, including alcohol, tobacco, and nonmedical drug use, in adults aged 65 and older.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional, retrospective survey of a population-based sample, the 2001/02 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

SETTING: United States.

PARTICIPANTS: Eight thousand two hundred five U.S. adults aged 65 and older.

MEASUREMENTS: Prevalence of lifetime and previous-12-month alcohol, tobacco, and nonmedical drug use and associations between substance use and sociodemographic and health-related factors.

RESULTS: Almost 80% of older adults had used any of the three substances over their lifetimes, and more than 50% reported such use over the previous 12 months. Alcohol was the most commonly used substance over the lifetime (74%) and in the previous 12 months (45%), followed by tobacco (52% lifetime; 14% previous 12 months); far fewer reported nonmedical use of drugs (5% lifetime; 1% previous 12 months). In general, being younger, male, and divorced or separated were factors consistently associated with use of any of the three substances.

CONCLUSION: Most older adults had used substances over their lifetimes and in the previous 12 months. Alcohol is the substance of choice for this age group, followed by tobacco; few report nonmedical drug use.

Ancillary