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Mid-life alcohol and drugs crisis in East Lancashire
5:00pm Friday 13th December 2013 in News
NHS officials have reported a surge in the number of middle-aged patients being admitted to hospital for alcohol and drug abuse.
East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust said drug and alcohol dependence accounted for about a fifth of emergency admissions am-ong those aged 40 to 44, the highest proportion of any age group, and the problem was putting unnec-essary strain on staff.
For those aged between 45 and 49, the figure is 18per cent.
Although the overall levels of binge drinking are declining, the profile of bingers is older than it was a decade ago.
In 2002/3, the typical age for an admission to hospital due to binge drinking was 16, rising to 19 in 2004/5, and 32 in 2012/13.
The Dr Foster medical research team said attitudes, and behaviour, among the young with regard to drugs and alcohol were improving, but ‘the same cannot be said about their parents’.
Blackburn with Darwen has some of the highest rates of alcohol-related hospital admissions in the country, with about 7,000 booze-related cases in in 2011/12.
Burnley also features in the ‘top 10’.
Karen Sargeson, alcohol liaison nurse at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “It is an issue as many of these people do come to the emergency department (ED) via ambulance, but the alcohol liaison team work with the clinicians in the ED to see these patients and ensure they are not admitted if there are no medical concerns and, instead, provide a brief intervention, signposting and ensure they are safe.
“We are also working with some frequent attenders at the moment who come to the trust in this way, ensuring that they have a pathway and a care plan that is followed by the staff in ED to turn them round.
“These patients do put a strain on the system and we work closely with Inspire, the drug and alcohol service, to ensure that they receive the appropriate care outside of the emergency department.”
A Department of Health spokesman said: “We are helping the NHS target harmful drinkers with measures such as increasing the use of interventions by health professionals, and introducing alcohol liaison nurses in accident and emergency.”
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