Ever had that urge when your parent is in the kitchen making dinner and you’re lingering around more than usual, dying to ask them “hey mum/dad, have you ever smoked weed?” Well the answer is most likely yes, and chances are they still do.
A recent study has found that the baby boomer generation indulge in binge drinking and cannabis use as much as, if not more than younger people. The study found that while alcohol abuse was declining for all age groups, it was on the rise for those aged over 40. Reportedly, this may increase over the coming years due to the generation’s more liberal attitudes toward alcohol consumption, landing in a category level which has been described as ‘alarming’.
But what exactly would be pushing the baby boomers down this ‘dark’ path that they warned the majority of us millennials about? Could it be down to their personal experiences? Perhaps they’ve witnessed a negative spiral of alcohol and drug abuse among some of their friends. Could it be a positive parenting ploy, perhaps mimicking what their own parents told them? Or is alcohol and substance abuse a public issue among humans in general, regardless of age? The study, undertaken at Flinders University in Adelaide, shows this just may be the case, highlighting that older age groups may indulge in these taboos as much as younger age groups, but may do so in a more subtle manor;
A few glasses of wine with dinner? Classy.
Copious use of prescription meds? That’s okay, its legal.
It was found that a large portion of people aged over 60 abuse prescription drugs, a topic which is largely ignored when it comes to discussing substance abuse issues. Attach the ‘illegal’ label to a substance and suddenly there is a huge uproar when it is brought to the forefront. But when it comes to cannabis use among older generations, the study found that these behaviours formed during their teenage years and have extended to the current day. So its not as if the Baby Boomers suddenly rolled their first blunt at age 50. It more likely indicates that they’ve been consistent with their alcohol and drug intake over the years and will continue to be.
But this is not to say the millennial generation get off scot-free either. If these patterns have been traced back to formative years, then it could indicate millennials may fall into the same category at some point in the future. After all, the Baby Boomer generation have been around much longer. But if substance and alcohol abuse is on the rise for the Baby Boomer generation, perhaps its time for a good old rewiring of educational campaigns to cater to all age groups instead of only pointing the finger toward us younger chums.