BOOZE is killing off Wiganers in their 40s say health chiefs after reports revealed that they have the highest rates of hospital admissions for drug and alcohol abuse.
Analysis in the Dr Foster report found that out of more than 500,000 people admitted in the past three years in England, 120,000 were in their 40s.
The research group said it suggested a heavy drinking and drug-taking culture was catching up with the age group. The greatest problems were being seen among the poorest, the report said.
Those from the least wealthy backgrounds were four times more likely than the wealthiest to end up in hospital. Overall, one in 10 emergency admissions is related to drug and alcohol abuse, costing the NHS £600m a year to treat related conditions, such as liver problems.
But admissions peak in the 40-to-49 age group. Nearly one in five admissions is for substance abuse, according to the findings which will be published in Dr Foster’s annual hospital guide on Monday.
Dr Kate Ardern, director of public health at Wigan Council, said: “The number of prescriptions for treating alcohol dependency in the borough has increased by 26 per cent in the last five years.
“We work with the local hospital to identify patients who have problems with alcohol. Prescriptions are only used in serious cases of alcohol dependency.
“We believe the most effective way of reducing the impact of alcohol abuse is to help people address their drinking before it gets to that stage.
“We have developed services to help people tackle alcohol abuse and work with the hospital to identify patients.”