Home > Responding to the needs of ageing drug users.

Johnstone, Lauren and Liddell, David and Browne, Katie and Priyadarshi, Saket (2017) Responding to the needs of ageing drug users. Lisbon: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

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Older people with drug problems (OPDP) are considered those aged 40 or over whose recurrent drug use is causing them harm or is placing them at a high risk of such harm OPDP are likely to encounter negative life outcomes due to their drug use and they have characteristics and trajectories distinct from those of their younger counterparts. The number of OPDP in need of health and social care will increase in coming years, and this is particularly the case in the western European countries that saw the first heroin epidemics in the 1980s and 1990s. There is an increasing need to develop responsive policies, treatments and services to support the needs of OPDP in Europe.

This paper outlines the main health and social issues for ageing drug users. The paper also outlines the interventions and initiatives currently being delivered in Europe to address these issues. The paper concludes by exploring areas for future development, and the opportunities and challenges in this area, outlining the key implications for those engaged in planning or delivering health and social care responses to illicit drug use, specifically in relation to ageing drug users.


Background paper commissioned by the EMCDDA for Health and social responses to drug problems: a European guide

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Report
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
General / Comprehensive, Treatment method, Harm reduction, Rehabilitation/Recovery
October 2017
14 p.
European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
Place of Publication
Related (external) link

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