Excessive U.S. alcohol use costs the U.S. $224 billion a year

Aug. 13, 2013 at 11:37 PM
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ATLANTA, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Excessive U.S. alcohol use cost states a median of $2.9 billion in 2006, ranging from $420 million in North Dakota to $32 billion in California, officials say.

The study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta estimated the United States spent $223.5 billion in 2006 for excessive alcohol use.

Binge drinking -- consuming five or more drinks on an occasion for men or four or more drinks on an occasion for women -- was responsible for more than 70 percent of excessive alcohol use related costs in all states and the District of Columbia, although 18 percent of U.S. adults binge drink.

The District of Columbia had the highest per-person cost at $1,662, while Utah had the highest cost per drink at $2.74. Furthermore, about $2 of every $5 in state costs were paid by government, ranging from 37 percent of the costs in Mississippi to 45 percent of the total costs in Utah.

The expense for excessive drinking largely resulted from losses in workplace productivity, healthcare expenses, and other costs due to a combination of criminal justice expenses, motor vehicle crash costs and property damage.

Across all states and the district, excessive drinking costs due to productivity losses ranged from 61 percent in Wyoming to 82 percent in the district, and the share of costs due to healthcare expenses ranged from 8 percent in Texas to 16 percent in Vermont, the study said.

Excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for an average of 80,000 deaths and 2.3 million years of potential life lost in the United States each year, the report said. Binge drinking is responsible for more than half of these deaths.

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