The Daily Telegraph

Older drinkers fuelling rise in alcohol problems

- By Nick Owens

PATIENTS aged over 40 now account for more than three quarters of all alcoholrel­ated hospital admissions.

An investigat­ion by The Daily Telegraph found the NHS was treating fewer people aged 30 and under than a year ago, while the numbers of middle-aged drinkers and pensioners requiring medical treatment over the same period has soared.

Those aged 55-59 are the most likely to be admitted.

Last night, experts called for urgent Government interventi­on, including new policies on minimum pricing to tackle the surge.

Figures show that last year the NHS dealt with 364,298 serious alcohol-related cases, an increase of 1.4 per cent on the year before, and 84 per cent up on 2010 when there were just 198,000 admissions. Over the past two years, admissions of people aged 16-39 dropped more than 3 per cent, while those aged over 40 rose by 2.5 per cent.

The growth of extended happy hours, which encourage more workplace drinking, has been blamed by many experts for the rise, as well as cheap alcohol prices in supermarke­ts.

Dr Richard Piper, chief executive of Alcohol Change UK, said: “Those aged 45-64 are among the heaviest drinkers and as a result are experienci­ng the most harm.”

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