Substance Use Among The Elderly In Rural Dehradun: A Hidden Problem
Introduction: Substance use among the elderly is one of the fastest growing health problems but the situation remains underestimated, under-identified, underdiagnosed and undertreated. Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of various forms of substance use among the elderly and to identify its correlates. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among 403 elderlies in rural Dehradun for a period of 6 months. Chi square test and Fisherâ€™s exact test were used at 5% significance level and analysis was done using SPSS-22 software. Results: The prevalence of substance use was found to be 37.0% (57.8% among males and 19.0% among females). Tobacco use in any form was the most prevalent (33.3%). The prevalence of tobacco smoking was 22.8% followed by use of smokeless tobacco (14.6%), alcohol intake (14.4%) and illicit drug use (0.5%). Conclusion: This study unveils high prevalence of substance use among the elderly. More detailed studies and intervention strategies for this hidden problem are required to promote healthy and active ageing.