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Minimum alcohol prices to save lives

13 September 2012

Minimum alcohol prices to save lives

5,000 British lives could be saved each year if the Government imposes a 50p minimum price for a unit of alcohol.
Researchers from the University of Sheffield estimated the figures for a programme highlighting the problem of over 65’s drinking dangerously.

There are about 1.4 million over 65’s drinking excessively. This has caused a 62% increase in hospital admissions amongst this age group in 5 years and now, more pensioners than 16-24 year olds are kept in because of alcohol related injuries and illness.

The study at the university calculated that if the minimum price were set at 50p per unit, there would be almost 50,000 fewer alcohol related deaths amongst pensioners over the next decade.

A spokesman for the Home Office said, “We will introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol, ensuring for the first time that alcohol can only be sold at a sensible and appropriate price.”

A spokesman for Alcohol Concern said, “Life-changing events such as retirement or bereavement could prompt older people to start drinking too much. Although the media often focus on excessive drinking by young people, the problem affects all age groups. While over-65s generally drink less overall than other groups, they are more likely to drink constantly.”

Eric Appleby, chief executive added, “The trouble with problem drinking among older people is that it remains hidden. Most often, it’s something that goes on quietly in the home without disturbing anyone. That’s why it’s so important that professionals who come into contact with older people are well-trained in recognising the signs of problem drinking, and that local support services are available to help sufferers confront the issue before the health impact becomes severe.