They are not your average alcoholics or drug addicts, and in fact if you looked around the room you would never guess that this is what binds them together.
But for the group of over 60s, they know that addictions know no age.
Gathered in a room at the Hanley Center, they tell of their struggles, of their low points and lapses, brushes with death and pain caused to families as they quietly share stories of their addictions.
One man said: 'I retired, I started drinking more.'
Another said: 'I lost my father, my mother, my dog, and it gave me a good excuse.'
A remarkable shift in the number of older adults reporting substance abuse problems is making this scene more common.
Between 1992 and 2008, treatment admissions for those 50 and older more than doubled in the U.S. That number will continue to grow, experts say, as the massive baby boom generation ages.
Peter Provet, the head of Odyssey House in New York, another centre offering specialized substance abuse treatment programs for seniors, said: 'There is a level of societal denial around the issue. No one wants to look at their grandparent, no one wants to think about their grandparent or their elderly parent, and see that person as an addict.'
231,200 people aged 50 and over sought treatment for substance abuse in 2008, up from 102,700 in 1992, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Continue Reading