Interesting article on substance abuse in the NYT by one Charles Blow.  (Pause for snickers.)  Also a fascinating graphic, with an almost Tuftean quantity of information and ease of reading.

Blow focusses on a rise in treatment for substance abuse by older women.  But he seems to have forgotten how to read a cohort-oriented graph.  The two times compared are about 10 years apart.  Look at the graph for alcohol treatment for whites: in 1996, the peak was 35-year-olds.  Ten years later, it was 45-year-olds.  In other words, the same generation  is having trouble; they’re just older.

Throughout the charts, this cohort– 40 to 50 year olds, late Boomers– is trouble.  They now account for most of the treatment for alcohol, heroin, and cocaine. 

Interestingly, the cohort after them (current 30 to 40 year olds) seems to have seriously cooled down their alcohol abuse.  If they abuse anything, it’s stimulants. 

And the next cohort, 20 to 30 year olds, is busy abusing alchohol, heroin (whites only), and marijuana. 

(As a caveat, the charts only consider admissions to treatment centers, so they may or may not reflect addictions in general.  Who goes to treatment centers probably correlates with income, for instance.)