Invisible Addict report finds soaring drink and drug use among baby-boomers

Drink and drug abuse is rising among “baby-boomers” behind closed doors, a new report warns.

The research highlights the growing problem of alcohol and illicit substance misuse among older people.

Figures show the number of alcohol-specific deaths in people aged 50 and over has risen from 3,582 in 2001 to 5,208 in 2016 – a 45% increase over the past 15 years.

Using data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the report entitled “Our Invisible Addicts” also states that deaths related to poisoning from substances in older people have more than doubled over the past decade.

Its authors, from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, are urging clinical services to improve the diagnosis, treatment, education, training, service development and policy to meet the needs of older people with substance misuse issues.

Consultant psychiatrists Professor Ilana Crome and Dr Tony Rao said: “In the 21st Century, substance misuse is no longer confined to younger people.

“The public is poorly informed about the relationship between substance misuse and health risks in older people

“We need a clear and coordinated approach to address a problem that is likely to increase further over coming decades.”

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, encouraged everyone to limit their alcohol intake to 14 units a week, with at least two drink-free days a week.

“It is alarming to see a doubling in deaths related to poisoning from substances in older people and highlights the very real dangers of alcohol and drug misuse.

“While alcohol is safe in moderation, it is also important to be aware of your alcohol habits at home, in private – as it can be more difficult to keep track of exactly how many units you’re having when they are not being measured out in standard sizes – and if you notice it’s becoming a problem, you should be honest with yourself and seek help to limit your alcohol intake.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved.