Expert: More Grandmas, Grandpas Using Meth

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Over the past three years the number of methamphetamine related deaths in San Diego County, has climbed. As Sherene Tagharobi reports, more senior citizens are abusing the drug than you may think. (Published Monday, Aug 11, 2014)

A San Diego County man’s death highlights what one former addict considers a growing problem - more grandparents using meth.

Diana Julian, program manager for an East County regional recovery center is seeing an uptick in older meth users.

“A lot of grandmas and grandpas are using meth and have been using for many, many years,” Julian said.

Julian has been clean for more than 14 years and runs the McAlister Institute in El Cajon.  She was not surprised to learn methamphetamine abuse was the cause of a Ramona man’s death.

Carl Salayer’s disappearance on June 16 triggered an all-out search and rescue effort. More than a week later, San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputies found Salayer’s body in a field full of thick brush.

The County Medical Examiner report listed the 67-year-old man’s official cause of death as acute methamphetamine intoxication. The autopsy report lists Parkinson’s Disease among other contributing conditions.

San Diego County officials said the meth found in Salayer’s system was not a byproduct of any other medication.

In 2012, county health records show the majority of deaths attributed to methamphetamine were among Baby Boomers. Sixty-nine people age 50 to 59 died from meth intoxication. Thirteen deaths were among those 60 or older.

In 2013, meth intoxication was listed as the cause of death for 80 people age 45 to 54, 48 people age 55 to 64 and four people 65 or older.

Julian said an older person may resort to meth use because of declining health and may lack the support system to kick the habit. 

“For people that are using and they're older, their support has become smaller and smaller throughout the years,” she said.

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