Alcohol concern for middle aged and older men

Posted on: Monday, 21 December 2015

New research has revealed middle aged and older men are making up an alarming proportion of alcohol-related ambulance attendance figures.

According to Turning Point, men aged 50-59 have had the highest rates of Victorian alcohol related ambulance attendances since 2012-13. Men aged 60 plus are also tracking up.

Researcher Sharon Matthews said the figures which are based on Ambulance Victoria data could not simply be put down to an ageing population.

“The assumption that it is just young people out on a Saturday night who drink heavily is just not correct.  Excessive alcohol consumption can affect everyone, and middle-aged and older Australians are no exception.”

The research also found that the rates for alcohol-related ambulance attendances for men aged over 40 was actually higher than those aged 15-39 years. 

In fact, since 2012-13, men aged over 40 accounted for more than 50 per cent of intoxication attendances.    

Ms Matthews is currently completing a PhD on age trends and alcohol intoxication.

She said the over-representation of middle-aged and older Australians in alcohol-related ambulance attendance figures will place an increased burden on acute health services.

Furthermore, she is calling for a targeted approach to address harmful alcohol use in the over 40s was needed.

“This demographic is a complex population with multiple health needs, so there are implications for service planning which need to be addressed.”

Figures from the research are based on a unique partnership shared by Ambulance Victoria and Turning Point. Both organisations work closely on a number of projects, including its annual Drug-Related Ambulance Attendance Report

 “We are grateful to Ambulance Victoria for their strong commitment to evidence-based research; and the high value they hold on collecting quality patient data which allows for informed decision making and improved patient outcomes,” Ms Mathews said.


Turning Point Director Prof Dan Lubman said the research was a timely reminder that people needed to know their limits when it comes to alcohol, particularly as we enter the holiday season.

“This time of the year is a great opportunity to catch up with family and friends. However, it is also important that people understand that excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of a fall or serious injury, as well as greater likelihood of making impulsive decisions that can lead to embarrassment or family conflict.

“Make sure you look after yourself and keep an eye on your friends and family. The last place you want to be this summer is in a hospital emergency department.”

Hints and tips for a safer festive season -
Alcohol absorption can vary depending on your body size and gender
Drink water between alcoholic beverages, and be wary of drinks being “topped up”
Eating slows alcohol absorption, so avoid drinking on an empty stomach
Be supportive of family and friends who may not be drinking
Never drink and drive, or be a passenger where the driver has been drinking
Avoid mixing alcohol and drugs
For help, call DirectLine on 1800 888 236 or visit www.counsellingonline.org.au