Regions

U.S. wastes billion dollars every year for binge drinking

October 20
3:47 AM 2015

Too much drinking is not only bad for the health but also seeps out the U.S. economy.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study on Thursday that binge drinking loses the economy a humongous "$249 billion in 2010, or $2.05 per drink, a significant increase from$223.5 billion, or $1.90 per drink, in 2006."

Binge drinking, as described by CDC, is 5 or more drinks on one occasion for males and 4 for women.  According to the report, the price themselves rooted mostly by taxpayers in the form of a rise in the healthcare costs and other services like rehabilitation treatment.  Another thing is the loss of productivity at work from things like being absent or early death, as reported by Fortune.

"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," said Robert Brewer, M.D., M.S.P.H., head of CDC's Alcohol Program and one of the study's authors. "Effective prevention strategies can reduce excessive drinking and related costs in states and communities, but they are underused."

The level of consumption is reportedly held accountable for an average of 88,000 deaths each year, involving 1 in 10 deaths among Americans ages 20 to 64 where each figure depend from one state to another.  Like for example, Washington, D.C. had the highest cost per person and New Mexico has the highest cost per drink, Medical Daily reported.

CDC's current estimates are mainly on the changes in the occurrence of alcohol-related problems and the cost of paying for them since 2006, having a chance that some of the component costs were misestimated.   However, researchers believe there are two clear things:  too much drinking is both very costly and largely "borne by taxpayers," including those non-drinkers.  If Brewer's strategies will be used by Americans, including increasing alcohol excise taxes, limiting alcohol outlet density, and commercial host liability, there will be a possible decline on the economy and public health costs.

Researchers concluded: "Unless this changes, the economic cost of excessive drinking is likely to increase, placing an ever-greater burden on the excessive drinker, their family, society, and taxpayers."

The biggest burden is California's binge drinkers that made companies waste $13 billion while healthcare costs for excessive drinkers lose the companies $58 billion in 2010.  New York loses about $16 billion a year, while the median amount per state reaches $3.5 billion every year, reported New York Daily News.

Every year, almost 10% of workers die because of binge drinking, said CDC.  While there are effective prevention strategies to make sure employees are not excessively drinking, they are under-utilized, according to Brewer.

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