Baby boomer alcohol harm 'more likely than in young'

Glasses of wine A variety of methods have been used by countries to try to curb problem drinking

Related Stories

More NHS money is spent treating alcohol-related illness in baby boomers than young people, a study says.

The Alcohol Concern report found the cost of hospital admissions linked to heavy drinking among 55 to 74-year-olds in 2010-11 was more than £825m.

That was 10 times the figure for 16 to 24-year-olds.

In total, nearly £2bn was spent on alcohol-related in-patient admissions in England, the report found.

This comes as more than 10 million people in England are drinking above the recommended levels, according to the report.

The sum spent on treating the baby boomer generation went on 454,317 patients, compared with the 54,682 under-24s who were treated at a cost of £64m.

Problem drinking is a contributing factor for a host of diseases, including liver, kidney and heart disease, as well as increasing the risk of injury.

Graphic showing cost of admissions

In many ways the findings are not surprising as the effects of drinking are more likely to catch up with people later in life.

'Expensive care'

But the charity said part of the reason for compiling the report, which was based on NHS figures, was to break down the data by individual local authority area.

Start Quote

It is the unwitting chronic middle-aged drinkers who are taking serious risks with their health”

End Quote Sir Ian Gilmore Liver disease expert

The figures have been collated in a clickable map.

It hopes the information, compiled with funding from drug company Lundbeck, will be used by councils next year when they take responsibility for problem drinking as part of their new remit covering public health under the shake-up of the NHS.

Alcohol Concern chief executive Eric Appleby said he hoped they would use the findings to help them focus their energy on schemes to tackle problem drinking.

"It is a common perception that young people are responsible for the increasing cost of alcohol misuse, but our findings show that in reality this is not the case.

"It is the middle-aged, and often middle-class drinker, regularly drinking above recommended limits, who are actually requiring this complex and expensive NHS care."

Liver disease expert Sir Ian Gilmore, a former president of the Royal College of Physicians, who has long campaigned about alcohol misuse, agreed. He said: "It is the unwitting chronic middle-aged drinkers who are taking serious risks with their health."


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    Re 40. That of course should have read bottle of wine, just proves my point.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    There are 3 times more people in the 55-75 bracket than there are in the the 16-24 in the first place.
    Being older, there is a greater likelihood of being hill at all. How do 55-75 compare with 16-24 for respiratory disease? Cancer?
    Add that to the fact that an older person is more likely to be taken to hospital and an 18yrs old home and you have a recipe for a load of rubbish statistics.

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    Because its too cheap.
    S/Markets via donations & lobbying fees to last Govt got the licencing laws changed so they can sell 24/7 at duty fee prices & has virtually annihilated the drinks industry. (thanks LAB)
    Thousands of jobs in 'regulated' drinking establishments have been lost & changed the way people consume their beverage.
    Just look at all the empty focal point pubs in towns & villages

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    36 Greggers.

    You are right, I don't know where to stop but I certainly feel we could start with alcohol, drugs, bad driving, IVF, obesity. Just think how much that would save the NHS with these conditions alone. But then we all have our own justifications for getting others to pay for our lifestyle choices. Tax revenue is not an argument as there are other things than just the cost of treatment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    If I live long enough to retire I fully intend to get as mashed up on cheap booze and prescription tabs as is possible. Why wouldn't you party, at long last, your time is your own. If I need some sawbones to prod me about a bit so that I can get to the off licence, so be it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    What is the cost to the NHS of collecting this type of information and making it available to vested interest groups? If there was an instant cure for alcoholism, heart disease and cancer tomorrow, there would not be the slightest reduction in the NHS budget. 'Pumping up and maintaining the budget' is an important role of public sector authorities and their quangos.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    Announcement from the "Beer Police"

    As from 1st December it will be a criminal offence to drink "warm beer"

    Beer Police- serving your best interests.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    Surely article should state figures adjusted for number of people in each demographic category? Unfortunately this does not seem a valid comparison at the moment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    I do not doubt there is problem drinking, but why do they make a comparison
    of 55 to 74 year old (difference 19 years) with 16 to 24 year old (difference
    8 years). Also the lower teens are much less likely to drink or afford alcohol!

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    I am getting fed up with different groups in society being 'picked on'. However, I am slightly surprised by the amount of comments seeming to back excessive drinking? If this article were about smokers then they would all be condemned to hell!
    BTW I neither drink or smoke, can't afford either :(

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    The drugs inquiry ongoing just now hasn't even touched on the subject of alcohol. I am shocked at how far the hysteria of "the war on drugs" has misplaced the attention and concerns of our politicians from the real killer drugs - alcohol and tobacco - to drugs which comparitively are having next to no impact on society such as cannabis. The ignorance must end and our priorities shift.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    54. KD "It [alcohol] is a poison. Ask your doctor."

    I remember a conversation I had with my GP many years ago about my drinking habits. He told me that since I drank less than him I was not to worry too much!

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    I'm a boomer and I drink far too much according to the docs

    In fact I may have to cut down from a bottle of beer after work, and a bottle of beer after dinner.

    Still one good thing about it is I'll have a little more money so I'll be able to put the heating on for an extra 5 minutes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    I wonder how much this research cost?

    Is it really news that people over the age of 55 are more susceptible to any sort of illness than 16 to 24 year olds? Add in 30 years more drinking to the age factor and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work this out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    Not all baby boomers are immensely wealthy or drink vast quantities of alcohol. I have a poverty-level income, no savings, and have just reduced my two bottles of wine per week to one to save money for my energy bill. The "mess" we're in now was caused by the corrupt banking system, not by the principled policies from which I benefited.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    Im afraid that the lot of you are falling into the trap.Lets blame each other thats what our Dave wants "Divide and Conquer".

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    So now we want to charge responsible drinkers more to pay for the idiots.
    This is yet another tax..............
    But it will mean more illness as people make thier own and create a bigger black market.
    Best think things through properly, but no Government ever does!

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    40 Mega

    Try not to spill it all over the keyboard. The red stuff is the worst. If you've got a white laptop, the stains won't come off.

    A friend of mine had to let it dry out for a week before she dared switch it on again. Blurb.......................!

    The big trouble is that the baby boomers have cornered most of the money and nice houses. Getting blotto is all part of what they do!

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    Of course there are more needing treatment they have had longer to develop related problems than young people.Theyoung are mainly in danger of physical damage to themselves or others mainly in A. Later it will be needing medical or surgical treatments as organs such as the liver are diseased.


Page 13 of 16


More Health stories



  • A very clever little girlBrain gain

    Why are people getting better at intelligence tests?

  • BeefaloBeefalo hunt

    The hybrid animal causing havoc in the Grand Canyon

  • A British Rail signBringing back BR

    Would it be realistic to renationalise the railways?

  • Banksy image of girl letting go of heart-shaped balloonFrom the heart

    Fergal Keane on the relationship between love and politics

  • Don Roberto Placa Quiet Don

    The world's worst interview - with one of the loneliest men on Earth

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.