Substance use

Using substances considerations for older adults

People’s risks of substance-related harms can change as they get older. These are some things that older adults should consider when deciding to use substances.

Your body changes as you age

As you get older, your body goes through many changes that influence how substances can affect you and how strong their effects are. For example:

  • your body breaks down substances slower, so they stay in your body for longer
  • you may have more body fat and less muscle mass
  • you may have less water content in your body than when you were younger

Because of these changes, older adults usually have a lower tolerance for substances. This means you may require less of a substance to get the same effect as younger adults. It is important for older adults to keep in mind that becoming more sensitive to the effects of substances can lead to problems such as dizziness, falls, and injuries.

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