Addaction comments on forthcoming Statistics on Alcohol (NHS, 2018)
Today NHS Digital published a statistical report about alcohol use by adults and children, drawn together from a variety of sources
Karen Tyrell, spokesperson for drug and alcohol charity Addaction, said
“The age group we’re most worried about are the over 50s. They’re drinking more than ever and we know that pressures of life like loneliness, grief and or a sense of loss after retirement can all play a part.
Even when things start to unravel, older adults tend not to come along to alcohol services like ours. But there is an increasing need - it’s starting to come through in hospital admissions and quality of life data. We need to get far better at reaching this group”
Ms Tyrell encouraged people to reach out to friends and family members who might be struggling with alcohol problems.
“More than five million of us have personal experience of an alcohol problem. About half of us know someone who’s had a problem. It’s incredibly common but it’s still not an easy thing to talk about. If you’re worried about someone in your life, one of the best things you can do is let the person know you’re there to listen without judgement. Some people will get back on their feet with a bit of support from family and friends, others might need a hand from an organisation like ours. But it always starts with talking.”
She added that government policy is making it harder to help the group of people for whom alcohol presents an acute risk to health and life.
“More than 7,000 people died from alcohol-related causes last year. Government policy needs to change. Measures that help very high risk drinkers have very little to do with individual choices. We need minimum unit pricing and we should go further on restricting the availability of cheap, high strength alcohol.”