Prescription and Illicit Drug Abuse
Frequently Asked Questions
10. Will improper use of medications or use of illicit drugs affect me differently because I am older?
Medications affect older people differently than younger people because aging changes how the body and brain handle these substances. As we age, our bodies change and cannot break down and get rid of substances as easily as before. This means that even a small amount of a medicine or a drug can have a strong effect. If you take medications the wrong way or abuse illicit drugs, this can have a serious effect on your health and make existing health problems worse.
As people age, they may also become more sensitive to alcohol’s effects. For more information on the dangers of mixing alcohol and medicines, see “Alcohol Use and Older Adults."