Skip to main content

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL6227, tabled on 12 March 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the extent to which people aged 55 or over are increasingly experiencing harm caused by alcohol, and (2) the need to introduce a different intervention strategy to address the needs of those people.

Answered on

26 March 2018

Data on those experiencing alcohol harm, broken down by age, is not collected centrally. However, national estimates of the number of alcohol dependent adults in 2014-15 were published by the University of Sheffield in March 2017. They estimated that the number of adults aged 55 or over dependent on alcohol was 73,280.

The Government has no plans to introduce a different intervention strategy aimed at older people. Local authorities are responsible for commissioning effective drug and alcohol prevention and treatment services based on an assessment of local need. Public Health England (PHE) supports local authorities in this work, by providing bespoke data, value for money tools, topical briefings, and advice on good practice to help local authorities meet the needs of their local population, including older people.

PHE is engaged in a series of work programmes which aim to reduce the incidence of substance addiction and help provide support to older people, such as advocating the national roll out of an alcohol misuse screening question that has been part of the NHS Health Check since 2013. The NHS Health Check is offered to around three million 40-74 year olds per year.

In addition, the United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers have produced new low risk drinking guidelines which provide the public with the latest information about the health risks of different levels and patterns of drinking. The guidelines enable people to make informed choices about their drinking. The UK Chief Medical Officers’ Low Risk Drinking Guidelines are attached.