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The abuse of prescription drugs has taken place quietly among a segment of the population where you'd least expect it: the elderly. "I call it the silent epidemic," says Ruth Sanchez-Way, director of the federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. She says many older people either don't realize or are ashamed to admit they've got a drug problem. Yet her agency estimates that 17% of Americans age 60 and older abuse prescription drugs or alcohol. Sanchez-Way says that, in many cases, prescription drug abuse goes hand in hand with a drinking problem.
By Kathleen Fackelmann, USA TODAY
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