Start Your Recovery a Resource Hub for Substance Use and Misuse

As Baby Boomers ease up on work in retirement, many are reportedly continuing to use alcohol or other drugs, leading to misuse or even substance use disorder. Evidence suggests that substance use among adults ages 65 and older is an emerging public health issue. And substance misuse among people as young as age 50 is also projected to increase., a free resource website for people facing substance use, misuse, and disorder challenges at any age was launched by Reingold, a communications firm with deep experience leading national public health education campaigns.

“I was inspired to create after spending years directing people-centered campaigns focused on preventing substance use and promoting recovery,” said Brooks Lape, who co-founded the website, which became an LLC in 2021.

An initial aim of the now-multifaceted platform was to address the growing issue of drug and alcohol misuse among older people. This population often faces unique substance use challenges and vulnerabilities, yet the topic can be ignored or poorly understood in mainstream conversations.

‘Why doesn’t someone offer access to these resources in one place?’

Lape saw a need for sensitive, informative content specific to this age group. The site fills the gap, providing older adults, their families, and the wider community with substance use–related information, resources and support.

Another issue Lape aimed to address was the trust factor: Too many people searching online for help with substance use issues couldn’t tell if search results were credible. Lape wanted to provide individuals and families with trustworthy, reliable, evidence-based information on ways to start on a pathway of recovery.

Find Trusted Information

First, Lape asked: “Why doesn’t someone offer access to these resources in one place?” Then, “Why don’t we?”

Lape’s deep understanding of the issue was complemented by the wisdom of numerous experts with which Reingold had collaborated over the years. formed partnerships with leading clinicians and experts in substance use harm reduction, prevention, treatment, and recovery. Experts came from nonprofit, academic and government institutions, including Education Development Center (EDC), The Jed Foundation, Faces & Voices of Recovery, American Association of Suicidology, and others.

The organization aims to be a single source of relatable, reliable information, no matter a person’s stage of recovery. People visit the site to find just about everything they need—stories of recovery, reliable health and wellness information, a treatment facility and support group locator, and much more.

Prevent Substance Use Disorder at Any Age

Life is full of transitions. Experiencing a long life and retirement can provide joy and satisfaction, but it also can bring new challenges. For some people, life in the third age can mean stress, anxiety, and other emotions that contribute to problems with drugs or alcohol.

Whether someone comes to the site concerned about a parent’s alcohol consumption, distressed by a friend’s drug use, or to evaluate their own substance use, they find they are not alone. Older adults can learn about the impact of drug or alcohol use on their health and relationships and find practical support.

Relate to Common Challenges

Everyone’s experience with aging is unique, but many older adults face similar challenges. Increased use of drugs or alcohol may seem like a way to relieve stress or boredom, dull pain, or forget problems, but over time, substance misuse only diminishes health and well-being.

For instance, many people dream of a relaxing retirement for years, but in reality, transitioning from a standard workday to an unstructured week can be a stressful life change. It can be difficult filling the time, finding a sense of purpose, retaining social ties, and living on a smaller budget. Faced with these challenges, some people increase their reliance on drugs and alcohol to cope. Boredom after retirement is one of the many reasons for alcohol misuse among older adults.

According to the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, about 20% of older adults have mental health challenges. Life events that are common later in life—such as losing a loved one—can trigger mental health issues in people who haven’t yet experienced them. Older adult survivors of traumatic events such as sexual assault can be at risk of mental health conditions like depression and PTSD.

About 20% of older adults experience mental health challenges, which can contribute to the use or misuse of substances.

In addition, neurological conditions that primarily affect older people—such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease—can cause memory loss, confusion, and a decline in judgment and motor skills, among other challenges. These cognitive disorders may go undiagnosed or untreated or put stress on caregivers. In some cases, those affected may turn to drugs or alcohol to mask symptoms like anxiety, loneliness, sadness and frustration.

As people age, they also can experience injury, illness, disability, chronic pain, and other health conditions. These issues can be frustrating, exhausting, and painful. Drug or alcohol use may seem like easy ways to manage these effects. Taking prescription medications for pain or other conditions can lead to misuse. It’s also hard to keep track of prescriptions, over-the-counter drug dosages and frequencies, and overprescribed medications. Many drugs can become dangerous when mixed with alcohol or other medications and result in overdoses, emergency hospital visits, and additional complications.

Find Resources at provides helpful information for people with substance use issues and their family members, friends, and co-workers. Start Your Recovery has resources for people before or during any stage of recovery. offers:

● A single source of reputable, objective information about signs, symptoms, conditions, treatment options, and resources.

● User-friendly and easy-to-understand information about treating and recovering from substance and alcohol use disorder.

● Video stories of people who are successful in recovery.

● A dedicated directory of treatment and support resources in Washington and nationwide. Site visitors can search by city, state, and ZIP code and refine results by age bracket, treatment type, and payment option.

Anchal Arora is an outreach specialist with

Photo credit: Shutterstock/Joan Hall