At least 25% of elderly residents of German nursing homes are addicted to psychotropic drugs, report claims

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 13 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2029
  1. Ned Stafford
  1. 1Hamburg

    Germans continue to be among the biggest consumers of alcohol in the world, while the percentage of Germans who smoke cigarettes is continuing a downward trend, says a recently released report on addiction that also covers prescription and over the counter drugs, illegal drugs, and gambling.

    The report, released by the German Centre for Addiction Issues (DHS), painted an especially alarming picture of addiction to prescription drugs among elderly people, estimating that “at least 25%” of nursing home residents over the age of 70 are addicted to psychotropic drugs, with women particularly at risk.

    Raphael Gassmann, director of the DHS’s addiction centre, in Hamm, North Rhine-Westphalia, told the BMJ that although it is normal for people to need less sleep as they age, many elderly people grow concerned and consult their doctors.

    “Sometimes they ask the doctor for …

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