How Your Drinking Habit Is Killing the Economy

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The increasing costs of Americans' drinking are giving the economy a hangover, according to the government.

The increasing costs of Americans’ drinking are giving the economy a hangover, according to the government.

A study released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the costs of excessive drinking increased by more than $25 billion from 2006 to 2010. The study was published this month in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

According to the CDC, excessive drinking cost the U.S. $249 billion, or $2.05 per drink, in 2010. That’s up from $223.5 billion, or $1.90 per drink, in 2006.

Government shouldered $100.7 billion of that $249 billion in costs — about 40 percent.

Dr. Robert Brewer, head of the CDC’s Alcohol Program and one of the study’s authors, states in a news release:

“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. Effective prevention strategies can reduce excessive drinking and related costs in states and communities, but they are under used.”

In 2010, the tolls were highest in:

  • California — highest overall cost ($35 billion)
  • Washington, D.C. — highest cost per person ($1,526)
  • New Mexico — highest cost per drink ($2.77)

Most costs attributed to excessive drinking stemmed from:

  • Reduced workplace productivity
  • Crime
  • Health problems and deaths

More than three-fourths of the costs — 77 percent — were connected to binge drinking. The CDC defines this practice as having five or more drinks on one occasion for men, or four or more for women.

Do you think it’s possible that alcohol consumption results in such high costs in the U.S.? Let us know what you think about the CDC’s findings below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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