Baby Boomers have the Highest Alcohol Abuse Cost for the NHS

elderly drinkingThe national charity, Alcohol Concern, has released figures showing baby boomers alcohol related health costs are higher than any other age group. Their research found that people between 55 and 74 have higher inpatient costs than people 16 to 24.

According to the findings by the Alcohol Concern, baby boomers not only cost more than any other group. Inpatient treatment for those between 55 and 74 is more expensive than inpatient treatment for 16 to 24 year olds and all alcohol related A&E costs put together.


Currently the costs for inpatient treatment for baby boomers stands at around £825.6 million  while inpatient treatment for 16 to 24 year olds costs about £63.8 million. This is due in part to the fact that there are more than 8 times as many baby boomers admitted to inpatient treatment compared to 16 to 24 year olds.

In a statement about the results Alcohol Concern Chief Executive Eric Appleby said: "It is the 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 complex and expensive NHS care. There needs to be more investment in local alcohol care pathways and services by Local Authorities for this group, to prevent them from ending up as an in-patient."

Much of this cost may be down to a life of drinking and health problems brought on by old age. While young people may take the blame for being heavy drinkers, may baby boomers have been drinking over their daily limit for more than 30 years. Even if they never became addicted to alcohol, this type of drinking is bound to take its toll. As these people age, their bodies are less able to deal with alcohol misuse as well. This long term over consumption and the effects of aging make for a powerful one-two punch that could easily explain the high cost of treatment for baby boomers.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, President of the British Gastroenterology Society and former President of the Royal College of Physicians said: "It is the unwitting chronic middle-aged drinkers who are taking serious risks with their health. They present in hospital with conditions attributable to their alcohol consumption such as stroke, heart disease, cancer and liver disease. People simply do not realise that chronic drinking significantly increases their chances of suffering health problems. Indeed it is these people who are costing the NHS the most."

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