What’s the latest health crisis these days?

Baby-boomer addicts. Experts say that the number of senior adults hooked on destructive habits like alcohol, drugs, and gambling is poised to explode across North America.

In fact, a recent study found that illicit drug use among Boomers has jumped 60 percent in the last year alone. And the number of people over age 50 seeking addiction treatment has doubled.

So, why are boomers suddenly becoming addicts?

Dr. Barbara Krantz is a spokeswoman for the Hanley Addiction Treatment Center. And she says that a lot of boomers are in pressure cookers. They’re depressed and anxious because they’re doing everything from taking care of elderly parents, to building up shattered retirement savings, that were wiped out during the recession. So, they’re using drugs, alcohol, and gambling as an escape.

For example, one boomer we read about never had a problem with alcohol until he retired. But he says the shock of trading in 14 hour days at a high-profile law firm for days filled with nothing but stress about family issues, caused him to become an alcoholic.

Experts say even if your parents or grandparents have been drug-free their whole lives, be on the lookout for the warning signs of addiction. Like not taking care of themselves or they’re no longer interested in their favorite activities.

If you suspect they’re battling an addiction, make an appointment for them to see a geriatrics counselor, someone trained to specifically help boomer addicts.