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Med J Aust 2020; 213 (4): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50722
Published online: 17 August 2020

Many older Australians are drinking at risky levels, and the wealthy are drinking more than most, according to new research from La Trobe University, published in Drug and Alcohol Review. The study found 17% of Australians aged over 60 years are consuming more than the recommended maximum of 14 standard drinks per week or five standard drinks in a single drinking occasion, while a third of risky drinkers are in the highest income bracket ($128 388 to $217 048). Researchers at the La Trobe Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, who analysed 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey data from 7976 Australians aged over 60 years, found 54% of risky drinkers in this age group have experienced at least one of the following seven harms in a 1‐year period: loss of memory after drinking; inability to stop drinking once starting; failure to do what is normally expected of them; needing a drink first thing in the morning to start their day; feeling guilt or remorse; injury to self or others; and causing concern to others in relation to alcohol consumption. The researchers found risky drinking was three times higher among males than among females, while 93% of the group did their drinking at home. Men aged 60–69 years, of higher socio‐economic status, who had no dependents, were not employed and were either current or ex‐smokers, were more likely to report risky drinking.



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