CDC: Excessive drinking putting strain on the economy

Posted at 6:16 PM, Nov 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-03 19:23:41-05

According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive drinking is costing Americans significantly.

The report estimates that excessive drinking cost the U.S. economy $249 billion in 2010, taking into account lost productivity in the workforce, cost of damages to property, criminal justice costs and healthcare costs related to binge drinking.

If that cost was spread out evenly, it would cost Americans $2.05 for every alcoholic drink. According to the report, nearly 40 percent of these figures was paid by the government. Binge drinking (defined as at least five drinks in one sitting for a man or four drinks in one sitting for a woman) accounted for 77 percent of these costs.



According to the study, the $249 billion figure is an underestimate, because information on alcohol is often "underreported or unavailable."

That figure is a significant increase from 2006, when damages stemming from binge drinking cost Americans nearly $26 billion less.

The increase in drinking came despite the 2007 Recession, which the study argues should have slowed the loss of revenue in the workforce.

"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 Dr. Robert Brewer, one of the study’s authors. “Effective prevention strategies can reduce excessive drinking and related costs in states and communities, but they are under used.”

According to the CDC, excessive alcohol consumption accounts for an average of 88 thousand deaths per year.

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.