Baby boomers, now well into middle age, are still turning on to illegal drugs, doubling the rates of illicit drug use for the older generation, according to U.S. government statistics released on Wednesday.

The rates of people aged 50 to 59 who admit to using illicit drugs in the past year nearly doubled from 5.1 percent in 2002 to 9.4 percent in 2007 while rates among all other age groups are the same or decreasing, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported.

These findings show that many in the Woodstock generation continue to use illicit drugs as they age, SAMHSA Acting Administrator Eric Broderick said in a statement.

This continued use poses medical risks to these individuals and is likely to put further strains on the nation's health care system -- highlighting the value of preventing drug use from ever starting.

Baby boomers are the post World War II generation born between 1946 and 1964.

The data used in the study came from various surveys including 16,656 men and women participating in the 2002 through 2007 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health.