-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Excessive drinking is a
major economic problem in the United States, costing billions of
dollars in health care costs, lost worker productivity and other
consequences involved, the federal government reported Tuesday.
The nationwide economic burden of excessive drinking in 2006 was
$223.5 billion. The cost for each state ranged from $420 million in
North Dakota to $32 billion in California. The median cost per
state for each single alcoholic drink was $1.91, the report
The highest per-person cost from excessive drinking was $1,662
in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, Utah had the highest cost per drink
at $2.74. The government paid for about $2 of every $5 in state
costs, ranging from 37 percent of costs in Mississippi to 45
percent of the costs in Utah, according to the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention report.
Binge drinking -- defined as having five or more drinks per
occasion for men and four or more drinks for women -- was
responsible for more than 70 percent of excessive-drinking-related
The share of excessive-drinking-related costs caused by lost
productivity ranged from 61 percent in Wyoming to 82 percent in
Washington, D.C., while the share caused by health care expenses
ranged from 8 percent in Texas to 16 percent in Vermont.
Other contributors to the costs of excessive drinking include
property damage, traffic crashes and criminal justice proceedings,
according to the study, which appears online Aug. 13 in the
American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
"This study alerts states to the huge economic impact of excessive alcohol use, and shows how it affects all of us by reducing productivity, increasing criminal justice expenses and increasing health care costs," CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in an agency news release. "Effective prevention programs can support people in making wise choices about drinking alcohol, and help reduce the huge personal and social costs of excessive drinking."
The researchers believe the study's findings are underestimated
because it did not include other related costs, such as pain and
suffering among excessive drinkers or others affected by their
Excessive drinking causes an average of 80,000 deaths and 2.3
million years of potential life lost in the United States each
year. Binge drinking causes more than half of those deaths and
two-thirds of the years of life lost, according to the CDC.
The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has
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