There was an article in the Guardian last week about the challenges of delivering care for Britain’s aging population of drug users. In a way, it’s a good problem-  at least they didn’t die young- but the article describes the serious health issues that some have to contend with- Hepatitis C, HIV, bronchial problems.  Also, most drug treatment facilities just aren’t designed for older people.

I used to work at a  drop-in center for the homeless, and it was a real challenge creating an environment that was welcoming for both the older population- street drinkers who’d been hitting the booze for decades, and the younger guests- generally using heroin and crack.  It was partly to do with the cultural divide of the drug-users vs the drinkers, but partly it was the age difference.  The younger guests could be boisterous and chatty, the older guests often just wanted somewhere warm and quiet to chill, have a cup of tea and play some cards.

The article talks of a retirement community in the Netherlands which is designed specifically for older people with addiction needs.  Why is it always the Dutch who lead the way in demonstrating how to treat addicts with dignity and respect?

(Thanks Charm!)