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Michael Plasay


Research in the late 1990s and early 2000s projected that the number of people aged 50 and older who needed treatment for illicit drug use and abuse of prescribed medications to increase from approximately 1.7 million in 2001 to approximately 4.4 million in 2020. The purpose of this study was to examine how gender, marital status, employment status, and primary referral source predicted treatment outcomes with this older population. Of interest was how these predictions could better prepare treatment providers to treat individuals born between 1946 and 1964 who are addicted to substances. This quantitative study used an archival database, the Treatment Episode Dataset-Discharges (TEDS-D) from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. A discriminant function analysis revealed significance in the predictor variables with treatment outcomes. The second research question asked whether the criminal justice system/legal system alone, as the primary referral source, could predict treatment outcomes. A chi-square test revealed the primary referral source had a significant impact on treatment outcomes. These findings have implications for positive social change by empowering practitioners working with the older adult generation in substance abuse treatment to recognize the changing roles of retirement. These findings may, in turn, help those adults cope with physical health problems and loss of mobility, foster social supports within the community, and address the mental health problems among this population.

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