Around half of all alcohol-related hospital admissions in the North East are for people over 50, according to an analysis carried out by Balance – the North East Alcohol Office.
It comes as a report recently released by the British Medical Journal found a strong upward national trend of heavy drinking among this age group.
North East alcohol-related admissions rates have not risen as fast as the England average, but the region still suffers from rates that are significantly higher than the national average.
And despite a fall in the rates of younger people admitted to hospital for wholly attributable alcohol-related conditions, admissions for people over the age of 50 have risen from around a third of the total in 2006/07 to 51 per cent in a decade.
Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “It’s worrying to see a rising trend in alcohol-related hospital admission rates among older people.
“While we often see younger people pointed at as having problems with alcohol, we’re now seeing serious consequ-ences for an older generation who have easy access to increasingly affordable alcohol.
“Alcohol is 60 per cent more affordable than it was in 1980.
“At a time when the NHS is already facing huge pressures, alcohol is placing an unnecessary and unsustainable burden on time and resources. We need to bring alcohol harms under control by making alcohol less affordable, available and widely promoted.
“We urgently need the Government to take action by introducing targeted, evidence-based measures such as the introduction of a minimum unit price that would raise the price of the cheapest, strongest alcohol products.
“A minimum unit price would help tackle the problems caused by people drinking too much alcohol at source.”