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Tagged In:  Alcohol, Drugs, Substance Misuse

A recent report suggests the number of over-50s receiving treatment for substance misuse issues is to double in Europe by 2020.




Experts have warned that substance misuse is increasing among those in their 50s and older. In 2015/2016, more than half a million adults between the ages of 55 and 74 were admitted to British hospitals with alcohol-related injuries, conditions or diseases. They were admitted more than any other age group. Altogether in 2015/2016, there were 1.1 million admissions where alcohol was the primary or secondary issue. 

Although there is a decrease in risky drinking across the UK, Baby boomers’ are tipping the scales meaning by 2020, the number of people receiving treatment for various drugs and alcohol-misuse problems is set to double in Europe among those aged over 50. 



Dr Tony Rao, Co-chair of the Older People’s substance misuse group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists states:

“While the rest of the population reduces its alcohol intake, it is very concerning that baby boomers are drinking as a similar rate as before and are exceeding recommended guidelines” 

Rao added that a report back in 2011 from the Royal College of Psychiatrists advises that due to age-related physiological and metabolic changes, over 50s should drink no more than 11 units per week. The current guidelines recommend no more than 14 units a week for all adults.

Alcohol is connected to over 60 illnesses and diseases including heart disease, cancer, liver disease and dementia. The World Cancer Research Fund claimed that if no one drank alcohol in the UK, 21,000 cases of cancer could be prevented each year, including 12,000 cases of breast cancer. 

NHS Digital suggests that a narrower measure of alcohol-related hospital admissions is a lot more reliable for identifying changes over time compared to the more broader measure being used. This is because the narrower measure is less affected by improvements in recording secondary diagnoses. However, figures indicate that even under the narrow measure from NHS Digital, hospital admissions have still risen by 22% since 2005/2006.

Katherine Brown, director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies said consumption among baby boomer has become a large worry:



So what actions will be taken in order to tackle drink and drug misuse among baby boomers? Keep an eye on Sanctuary Criminal Justice for any future updates on the subject. 
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