Elderly Britons hitting the bottle on the rise

September 7th, 2012 - 11:37 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 7 (IANS) A new British study has found a growing number of elderly people visiting hospitals due to alcohol-related injuries than young drinkers.

Last year’s toll of 205,800 over-65s compared to just 52,000 patients aged 16 to 24.

Cheap supermarket liquor and social isolation felt by many older Britons have been blamed after a 62 percent rise in Old Age Pensioner (OAP) drink-linked admissions in the last five years, The Sun reported.

The cases range from drunken falls at home to serious liver damage.

Sixteen percent of OAPs drink every day in comparison to just two percent of the 16 to 24-year-olds. Many turn lonely following their partner’s death.

The National Health Service statistics have come to light during research for BBC’s Panorama. The show will suggest that a minimum 50p a unit price for alcohol - which would see cheap vodka rising from 9 to 13 pounds a bottle - could slash the pensioner toll by 50,000 within a decade.

According to some analysts, an estimated 1.4 million elderly Britons are now heavy drinkers.

“We might be on a cusp of an epidemic of people drinking problematically in old age,” warns Expert Sarah Wadd, of the University of Bedfordshire.

Panorama: Old, Drunk and Disorderly? is to be telecast on BBC1 Monday at 7.30 p.m.

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