Hangovers cost US economy $77bn a year

Hangovers cost the American economy $77bn (£50bn) every year because of low productivity and missed working days, new research has found.

Of all the economic drains caused by excessive drinking, low productivity caused by hangovers is the biggest, the study found (Photo: Pixabay)

Of all the economic drains caused by excessive drinking, low productivity caused by hangovers is the biggest, the study found (Photo: Pixabay)

A study from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention worked out the economic impact of excessive drinking in the US, finding that it costs $249bn (£161bn) when alcohol-related crime and healthcare is factored in.

Of the various economic drags caused by excessive drinking – car accidents, healthcare, crime and working-age deaths – the impact that hangovers have in the workplace is by far the biggest drain on the American economy.

Nearly one in every three dollars that binge drinking costs the economy is down to reduced productivity in work, the study said.

It found that every drink sold in the US costs the economy $2.05, up significantly since its last study in 2006, when each drink cost the economy $1.90.

Excessive or binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks in one sitting for men or four or more drinks in one sitting for women in the US.

The range of impact across the states is huge, the study found. Binge drinking costs the economy in North Dakota just $488 million, whereas it costs the economy in the much more populous California $35 billion.

Washington D.C. has the highest cost per person – $1,526, compared to the $807 national average – and New Mexico has the highest cost per drink –$2.77, compared to the $2.05 national average.

The study, which looked at the 2010 economy, was authored among others by Robert Brewer, head of CDC’s Alcohol programme. He said: “The increase in the costs of excessive drinking from 2006 to 2010 is concerning, particularly given the severe economic recession that occurred during these years.”

He said that prevention strategies across the country were being under-used.

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