Excessive drinking costs US $223bn a year

A new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that excessive alcohol consumption costs the US $223.5 billion a year.

drunk personThe study found that costs due to excessive drinking largely resulted from losses in workplace productivity, health care expenses, and other costs due to a combination of criminal justice expenses, motor vehicle crash costs, and property damage.

The information comes from a study of data and costs relating to 2006. The excessive drinking cost each state an average of $2.9bn in 2006, ranging from $420m in North Dakota, to $32bn in California.

CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden, said: “Excessive alcohol use has devastating impacts on individuals, families, communities, and the economy.

“In addition to injury, illness, disease, and death, it costs our society billions of dollars through reduced work productivity, increased criminal justice expenses, and higher healthcare costs. Effective prevention programs can support people in making wise choices about drinking alcohol.”

The CDC said that binge drinking, which it defined as “consuming five or more drinks on an occasion for men or four or more drinks on an occasion for women”, was responsible for more than “70% of excessive alcohol use related costs in all states.”

Washington DC had the highest cost per person at £1,662, while Utah, at $578, had the lowest cost per person for alcoholism and binge drinking. About 42% of the cost of heavy drinking was paid by state or federal funds.

Dr Robert Brewer, alcohol program lead at CDC and one of the authors of the report, said: “It is striking to see most of the costs of excessive drinking in states and DC are due to binge drinking, which is reported by about 18 percent of US adults.”

The report added that “excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for an average of 80,000 deaths and 2.3 million years of potential life lost in the United States each year.”

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