The use of psychotropic substances after 60 years of age
The processing of data from the 2005 « Health Barometer » (Baromètre santé) survey concerning the use of alcohol, tobacco and psychotropic medicines among senior citizens


The use of psychotropic substances after 60 years of age

Tendances n° 67, OFDT, 4 p.
September 2009

Around a decade ago, the OFDT introduced a series of surveys intended to monitor the use of psychoactive substances among the population as a whole. The use of such substances by adults is monitored by means of the INPES’s Baromètre santé (Health Barometer) survey, in which the OFDT has participated since 2000. This representative national telephone survey is carried out every five years and documents the state of health of the entire population of metropolitan France aged 12 to 75 years old, in addition to their use of psychoactive substances. These substances are mainly used by the younger generations, although alcohol, tobacco and psychotropic medicines are also extremely prevalent within the oldest age groups too. Literature in French regarding the use of psychoactive substances is fairly scarce. However, as a result of increases in life expectancy, this section of the population now accounts for a growing demographic segment. The last census identified more than 12 million people aged 60 or over and more than 8 million aged between 60 and 75 years old. Additionally, the impact of the use of psychoactive substances can be greater among members of this population group, whose life expectancy is longer but who are (and see themselves as being) in worse health than previous generations.
Just like the survey carried out in 2001 and presented in issue number 16 of Tendances involving the 60-75-year-olds interviewed for the Health Barometer survey in 2000, this analysis is designed in part to bridge this gap by presenting the results of a survey specifically focused on senior citizens based on data from the 2005 Health Barometer survey. Following a description of use patterns among this age group, the analysis will move on to consider a number of related factors and, above all, identify any possible differences resulting from a cessation of professional activity as members of this age group retire.

Authors :
Olivier Le Nézet, Stanislas Spilka, Cécile Laffiteau, Stéphane Legleye, François Beck

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