Boomers’ problematic drinking

Teen alcohol use is dropping off in New Zealand, but the number of older drinkers now consuming alcohol at levels hazardous to their health has significantly increased in recent years, according to the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA).

An article in the New Zealand Medical Journal says alcohol is still the drug of choice for the ageing baby boomer generation, which is likely to lead to more hazardous drinking and alcohol-related risks.

This requires the health system, particularly primary care, to adapt to this change in problem drinkers by getting both doctors and older adults up to speed on how low-level alcohol consumption can affect other health problems.

This requires not only asking older adults about alcohol but understanding the degree to which even low-level consumption patterns raise risk of harm for those with co-morbidities.

An HPA-funded pilot involving Massey University, University of Auckland, and Health Solutions Trust is a first step in the process.

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