Researchers will use a $30,000 grant from the state Office of Substance Abuse to determine the prevalence of binge drinking and chronic drinking among people over age 65; the project also will look at possible cultural or lifestyle issues that may influence binge drinking.
“This is a very exciting project that is going to investigate a very severe and neglected problem,” said Leonard Kaye, the center's director.
The study will focus particular attention on rural Hancock County; researchers say that elderly people in rural areas often drink to excess because they are more at risk of loneliness, isolation, and depression. Older people who drink heavily also are at risk of dangerous interactions with prescription drugs.
“We're hoping our recommendations will include some creative prevention programs that the Office of Substance Abuse and others can consider adopting as a result of our study,” Kaye said.