Who said old people don’t know how to party? A new study released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), reveals that adults over 65 years old binge drink more than any other age group.
Now obviously, binge drinking has a huge impact on public health, and we shouldn’t imply that it is cool that older people party more than younger people. Across the board the dangers of binge drinking are more severe for older adults. Alcohol may be dangerous when combined with prescription drugs, such as pain killers, sleep aids, anti-depressants and other medications. And alcohol can worsen chronic health conditions that a higher number of older adults experience, such as osteoporosis, stroke, memory loss and high blood pressure.
“Binge drinking by adults has a huge public health impact, and influences the drinking behavior of underage youth by the example it sets,” said Pamela S. Hyde, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrator, in a statement. “We need to reduce binge drinking by adults to prevent the immediate and long–term effects it has on the health of adults and youth.”
Having said that, there is a certain irony in the findings. According to the study, more young adults ages 18 to 34 participate in binge drinking than any other age group. However, the over-65 crowd binge-drink on average five to six times each month, more than any other age group. The study describes binge as four or more drinks for a woman and five or more drinks for a man.
According to the study, drinking alcohol causes 80,000 deaths in the US each year and, in 2006 cost the economy $223.5 billion. For perspective, the CDC estimates cigarettes kill 443,000 people per year, cars kill 180,000 people per year at a cost of $406 billion and the number one killer is heart disease at more than 600,000 deaths per year.