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

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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."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    Is it possible to compare the hospital admission rates of the current 55+ year olds, when they were in their 20s, compared to the current generation in their 20s?

    If we could, then we'd know if the problem will be getting better or worse in the next few decades.

    Plus a plea for help with research:

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    One word


  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    Shall I compare these statistics to a Summer's day?
    They art less summery and er less daylike...
    (sigh) wha's point...?

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    cirrhosis is caused by numerous things eg, chemicals,idopathic, auto immune, when they (the specialists ) cant' find the reason they blame ethanol look it up

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    I am tired of the BBC manipulating data to serve some non story. Where are the stats for the 25 – 55 years? And is comparing a 16 year old who lawfully cannot drink with a 55 year old who even if drinks in moderation has been drinking for 37 years.

    I don’t know what your agenda is BBC but whatever it is it stinks!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    Beer Police

    "zzzzzz- hic"

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    Never mind the Baby Boomers taking everything, if you want the real cause I blame the Neanderthals, never paid any taxes, probably invented alcohol and what did they give us eh.

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    Maybe you should analyse the supportive nature of the comments below - might be more interesting!

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    This is not a new phenomenon, it's just that people are living longer. It seemed when I first heard this, to be a way of suggesting that NHS resources aren't over-burdened by young binge drinkers.
    Now can we have the cost to the NHS, councils and police of binge-drinking and it's consequences ie knifings, beatings-up, accidents, vomit? Then compare it with the over 60s costs in those areas?

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    This is really irritating! I was born in 1964 the peak of the 1960s 'baby boom' years! In this article some journo has unilaterally decided to call the single year peak in 1946 as the 'baby boom year so thet s/he can make a spurious link to the prevalence of certain medivcal conditions! We baby boomers are still in our 40's thanks and are keeping well thankyou!

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

    Its not a poor life for those who don't drink and smoke, your interests and hobbies prove that. Its a poor life for those poor souls who have to worry about those who do smoke and drink.

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    Why is it that those who like drinking/smoking etc so often appear to feel anyone who does not drink/smoke etc must have a poor life doing nothing. My life is full and interesting enough not to need to boost it by drinking and smoking. Dislike the taste, price and effects of both. Nor do I need TV or sports. Do enjoy flying light aircraft, touring the world, riding motorbikes, growing my own veg.

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    This doesn't make sense!! Total cost of alcohol - related in-patient admissions £1,993.57m of which £825.6m are the 55-74 year old's and £63.8m are 16-24 year old's................Surely that just leaves the 25-54 year old's or 75-100 year old's who MUST cost £1,104.17m!!!!!
    How much did this B.S cost the taxpayer?????

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    I spy another attack coming up... First it was drugs, then smoking, then obesity, now two at once - alcohol AND the baby-boomers who are of course responsible for all the ills of society if you listen to the eighties moaners who want it all on a plate for no effort.

    This is just more divide and rule. Whatever it is that YOU enjoy doing, they'll be after you for that soon.Wise up, as they say.

  • rate this

    Comment number 306.

    54. KD
    It is a poison. Ask your doctor.

    I personally would not ask my doctor "what do you expect at your age"
    the time of day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    Life will kill you! guaranteed. Its not the length of life but the quality that counts. Get on with it and enjoy it in whatever way makes you happy, riding a fast motorbike, drinking, smoking, mountaineering, knitting. To those that have to worry about the way other folks live their lives don't bother. The rest of us don't care fig about your miserable nanny existence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 304.

    301 firemensaction

    Presumably your wages have gone up to match. Its rather annoying when people say how expensive things are these days and conveniently forget that salaries have also gone up - usually equally proportionate - if not better salary wise. Presumably people want to have stuff at yesterday's prices but earn today's wages. The two don't correlate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 303.

    I'm sure the conclusions of this research have been simplified in this report, but everyone knows that liver damage takes a good time to develop, as do most of the other afflictions that are related to alcohol consumption. Binge drinking amongst the young is likely to be the start of the slippery slope. Equally, the older age group seems to be twice the size of the younger...

  • rate this

    Comment number 302.

    Here we go again, it was smoking that research tenuously linked to every death, disease and ailment, now it's going to be alcohol. Talk about seek and you shall find. Wait till they get round to living.

  • rate this

    Comment number 301.

    I had a drink for a dare when under 18.
    It was a long time ago. It cost 1s 1d!
    Mathematicians want to compare that (old money) with what pint cost me this lunch time?
    £2 70p.
    If paying prices like that, HOW DARE ANYONE criticise.
    Seems us drinkers are keeping the nation afloat!
    Oh yes, and one day...I will die!
    Now THAT needs to be banned!


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