Nothing blows through money like an addiction. 

Whether clients are suffering from hidden substance abuse problems or are a caretaker for a person with an addiction, it is a real financial concern. 

The accidental drug overdose rate for middle-aged adults is higher than that of 25-44-year-olds for the very first time, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. In fact, the percentage of people who reported drug use in their older years is triple that of the previous generation. 

In 2013, more than 12,000 aging baby boomers died of accidental drug overdoses, which is higher than the number who died from car accidents, pneumonia, or flu that year, the WSJreported. The rate of accidental drug overdose in people ages 45-64 is higher than in any other age bracket, and over twice that of young adults ages 15-24.

An addict may spend the money themselves, or their loved ones may be forced to pay for expensive treatment programs or emergency medical care due to an accidental overdose. There may even be legal trouble, such as an arrest for drug possession or driving under the influence charges. 

Causes for addiction

Experts say that because the boomer generation was more likely to have experimented with drug use in their past when doctors prescribe opioid painkillers like Vicodin or antianxiety medications, those older adults are much more susceptible to abusing those medications. Because their bodies are no longer as capable of metabolizing these drugs, the side effects can be much worse than for people who are younger. 

More than 5.7 million people over 50 will need substance-abuse treatment by 2020, the WSJreported. Not all of these aging adults will be successful in overcoming their addiction problems. They stand on the brink of losing income, health, and family.

With more people living longer, there is an increasing number of age-related injury or pain management issues facing the general population, and the issue of prescription drug addiction is bound to become more prevalent.

What does this mean for clients? 

Talk to us if you feel addiction may have a potential to affect your financial security.  Many may not have considered addiction as a potential threat to the financial stability of themselves or of loved ones in their care.

To learn more about common estate planning issues, check out our free guide, Estate Planning Pitfalls: The 12 Most Common Threats to Your Estate & Your Family's Future, or to discuss your estate planning concerns, please call our office at 919-443-3035 or use our contact form.

Jackie Bedard
Connect with me
Attorney, Author, and Founder of Carolina Family Estate Planning