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The over-55s are most often problem drinkers, young people are more cautious

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One in five Flemish men between the ages of 55 and 74 drinks more than ten glasses of alcohol per week. The younger groups are remarkably more careful with alcohol.

This is evident from the prevention barometer of Sciensanocommissioned by the Flemish government, writes The standard Monday.

Alcohol consumption peaks between the ages of 55 and 74. Among the men of that age group, even one in five has a risky alcohol consumption. The 18 to 24 year olds drink less than the 55 to 74 year olds. People in their twenties and thirties least often exceed the limit of ten glasses a week. The figures point to an important cultural difference between the generations, says Frieda Matthys, who specializes in addiction as a professor of psychiatry (VUB).

The barometer also shows that the higher educated, the more difficult people find it not to drink alcohol in social situations. ‘Drinking in the group of settled, highly educated people with a good income should be more problematic,’ says Katleen Peleman, director of the Association for Alcohol and Other Drug Problems (VAD). But there is not much enthusiasm to open a social debate about highly educated people who drink too much, says Peleman. ‘Many those in power – the policymakers, the opinion formers, the journalists – belong to that group themselves. Outrage about binge-drinking young people has much wider social support.’

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