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Old 07-25-2009, 12:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question how long do addicts live?

anyone know what the average life expectancy of addicts/alch abuser's are? does it vary on the years doing the drug or type of drug? or is it all a matter of how much their body can handle untill it gives out, they die, goto rehab ect...
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Old 07-25-2009, 12:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'd say it's the latter. It just depends.
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Old 07-25-2009, 01:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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hiya.my father died at the age of 56 from alcoholism and his twin brother was 52 and died from the same.they were born in the 2nd world war and only weighed 3lb something each so i believe they didint have very strong constitutions.my grandad on my mums side was well in his 70s when alcoholism got him.and then my daughters father died of a herion overdose at the age of 32.he had been injecting speed most of the time from the age of 18,,,,,,,so it all depends i think.im a 36 yr old recovering alcoholic female and i hope to have many a happy year left in me yet!
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Old 07-25-2009, 01:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I known two alcoholics that died in their twenty due to complications from alcoholism. And I have know a life long methamphetamine user that died in his mid fifties. I think its safe to say that addicts/alcoholic have a much higher mortality rate than non addicts/alcoholic.
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Old 07-25-2009, 01:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My dad was 58 when he died of cirrhosis of the liver. He had been a fairly heavy drinker, mostly beer, his whole life. Toward the end, he was buying MD 20/20 though. I'm only 5 years younger than he was when he died. Glad I finally stopped poisoning myself.
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Old 07-25-2009, 03:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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There's a study I found on the net a few years ago. The state of Ca tracked a group of opiate addicts (ave age in their 20's) that were in a rehab program in the 1960's. They followed them for 30 years. There were no more active addicts 30 years out, they had either died or were successful in recovery. They didnt all die of od's, there were homicides from bad drug deals, suicides, medical consequences of long term drug abuse. The average life expectancy was around 50-55. Remember that in the body, all opiates: heroin, oxycontin, codeine, vicodan, darvocet, etc, immediately are converted to morphine. So addicts on narcotic pain killers are on the same track as these addicts were. Life expectancy for addicts on other drugs may be more or less. Alcohol seems to take longer medically, but drunk driving accidents lowers the life expentancy of an alcoholic dramatically. With Meth, it looks like its really fast.
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Old 07-25-2009, 04:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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In my NA area, which is pretty small as areas goes (I know most everyone in every meeting), we lose one or two members a year who die in relapse. Of course, that's only those who were in recovery to begin with. Addict's don't just 'die' or 'wear out' though. We die of something. Here are some ways addicts die: overdose, suicide, homicide (shootings etc), bad/tainted drug, accident such as from driving under the influence, or accident like falling down a set of stairs, heart attack (crack, crystal meth), disease left untreated such as AIDS, Hep-C, or something like pneumonia. Let's see, the last 6) deaths I know of were from 1)hit by a car while under influence of alcohol and pills, 2)heroin overdose, 3)sepsis from untreated infection, 4)heroin overdose 5)heroin overdose, 6)OD from combo of methadone and alcohol - the youngest was a 16 year old girl who died while in a treatment facility for teens (this incident closed the place). the oldest was early 50's. The rest, in their 30's or early 40's.

I also actually had gathered statistics from a thread at new year's from parents of addicts (me being one) and during last year, we lost 2 of our addict kids to death here in this forum. many more than that did get clean last year, but the vast majority of the young addicts in our lives continue to use to live and live to use. According to NA, addicts will either wind up dead, institutionalized (including prisons), or recovering. Those are the options and I agree, there are not many old addicts unless they are clean ones.
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Old 07-25-2009, 06:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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There's a study I found on the net a few years ago. The state of Ca tracked a group of opiate addicts (ave age in their 20's) that were in a rehab program in the 1960's. They followed them for 30 years. There were no more active addicts 30 years out, they had either died or were successful in recovery. They didnt all die of od's, there were homicides from bad drug deals, suicides, medical consequences of long term drug abuse. The average life expectancy was around 50-55. Remember that in the body, all opiates: heroin, oxycontin, codeine, vicodan, darvocet, etc, immediately are converted to morphine. So addicts on narcotic pain killers are on the same track as these addicts were. Life expectancy for addicts on other drugs may be more or less. Alcohol seems to take longer medically, but drunk driving accidents lowers the life expentancy of an alcoholic dramatically. With Meth, it looks like its really fast.
I think that study began in a prison, in California. And you are right, at 30 years, either the former inmates in the study were dead or sober.

I used to lurk on a forum for opiate addicts and this topic came up, from time to time. There are a handful of regulars with addictions going back to late Viet Nam. They seem to have the impression age 60 is the limit. Interestingly, most acknowledge this and prefer their lives, as is, and hope to go out with a blast.

Yet, I have never seen a bigger push back than when someone curious about trying opiates, seeks information. They make it very, very clear ...do not use.
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Old 07-25-2009, 06:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't know.. there's an issue with statistics with alcoholism if you ask me. The liver starts to heal itself (if you don't already have cirrosis or something other going on in it) once you have stopped drinking (for good) and though it takes a really really long time, if you're consistent in your recovery, it can come back to full health I believe. So I think really, if you stop drinking and don't already have a condition with it, you could be perfectly healthy in again in a matter of years. That's just speaking of the liver though, if you have brain damage then it could be a totally different story.

As for drug addicts.. I have no idea. My dad died at 41 from a heroin overdose (his 4th!!). I'm hoping I live past 60 if I keep this recovery up, but who really knows..
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Old 07-26-2009, 12:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I was once told in al-anon, that there was no such thing as an old addict?

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Old 07-26-2009, 04:31 AM   #11 (permalink)
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This is an interesting post.. I have often asked myself this same question but was really to frightened to think about it in depth. My AH is 35 years old and if he continues down the path he is going he will be lucky to see 50. That is the grim reality that I have to accept.
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Old 07-26-2009, 05:37 AM   #12 (permalink)
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This is an interesting thread and I have learned things here that I long suspected but didn't follow up by researching studies. Thank all of you who took the time to bring real information here, as well as those who shared their own experience.

I know I have seen the most hopeless of addicts find recovery, and maintain it (last seen for almost 5 years), and I have seen those I thought had a good foundation of recovery, go out and overdose and die. So I learned not to "guess who will make it".

But of those who make it, who maintain sobriety, increase the odds of longevity by taking care of their health and getting regular checkups with their doctors.

Again, thank you for asking the question out loud, and for those who shared answers.

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Old 07-26-2009, 08:00 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I don't think there is any real answer to the question, because there are just too many depends...what they use, how long they use, etc. I know for me my brother died in his early 40's due to hepatitis which he contracted from dirty needles. I am now dealing with my daughter who recently turned 19 and is now 7 months clean. I pray she is able to conquer her deamons and lives a long productive life. She has multiple problems (physical and mental) which complicate things. I was hard enough to lose my brother, I can not imagine losing my daughter.
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Old 07-26-2009, 12:34 PM   #14 (permalink)
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My XABF is 51, has been doing crack for over 30 years and shows no sign of slowing down. He also drinks quite a bit, but the crack is more important than the alcohol. I have a feeling he will get killed from his stupid antics of stealing stuff before his health gives out.

Hugs and prayers!

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Old 07-26-2009, 08:59 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Like Amy said above, my qualifier has been chasing crack for 25+ years now. I don't see the drug slowing him down, but sooner or later he's going to rip off the wrong person and be brought down...for good.
Good point. It's not necessarily the substance, rather it's the lifestyle that goes along with most addictions, that ressults in a premature departure.
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