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240-baby-boomers-alcoholA new report from the UK finds that when it comes to treating alcohol-related ailments, middle-aged patients cost England’s National Health Service significantly more than younger adults.

And while it makes sense that booze would take more of a toll on older adults than the younger set — after all, they’ve got quite a few more years of drinking under their proverbial belts — the magnitude of the cost difference is what’s startling: Alcohol-related hospital admissions for 55- to 74-year olds cost 10 times that of 16- to 24-year-olds. The number of older patients admitted for alcohol-related problems was about eight times higher than the number of younger patients admitted.

The report, from the UK’s national agency on alcohol misuse, found that overall alcohol-related hospital admissions cost England nearly £2 billion in 2010-2011.

Agency chief Eric Appleby said it’s a “common perception” in England that young people are responsible for rising alcohol treatment costs, but “our findings show that in reality this is not the case. It is the middle-aged, and often middle-class drinker, regularly drinking above recommended limits, who are actually requiring this complex and expensive NHS care.”

In the most recent study in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that “excessive alcohol consumption” cost the country about $223.5 billion in 2006. This study, however, looked at a range of alcohol-related costs, including the somewhat nebulous cost of “losses in workplace productivity.” Only 11 percent of that total cost figure was from alcohol-related health care expenses.

Friday Quick Hits:

VP debate brings political drama. Check out a transcript of Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan’s comments on Medicare and Social Security.

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