The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a report outlining the results of a new study. The study shows that excessive drinking ends up costing the United States billions, specifically $223.5 billion in 2006.

The bottom line of the report declared that researchers estimated that excessive drinking cost $746 per person in the United States. The study looked at effects of alcohol consumption on aspects of the drinker’s life and on other people in their life.

What does ‘cost’ mean?

So, what does ‘cost’ mean in a drinker’s life? According to the researchers in this study, the breakdown is the following:

  • 72% of the total cost is loss in workplace productivity
  • 11% of the total cost is health care expenses
  • 9% of the total cost is criminal justice expenses
  • 6% of the total cost is from motor vehicle crashes

Binge drinking is major culprit

The CDC also states that binge drinking is the cause of 76% of all costs related to excessive drinking. Binge drinking means consuming 4 or more alcoholic drinks at a time for women or 5 or more for men.

Binge drinking:

  • Is reported by around 15% of U.S. Adults
  • Is most common among 18 – 34 year-old men, whites and people with incomes of $75,000 or higher
  • You do not need to be alcohol dependent to be a binge drinker

While I can understand that it is the CDC’s goal to reduce alcohol consumption, the report seems to draw a lot of conclusions. What about the loss of workplace productivity due to the internet, Facebook, smart phones and just plain laziness?

Also, how is only 9% of the cost of excessive drinking attributed to criminal justice expenses? Each state will be different in its costs and fines for drinking related incidents, but the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs estimates the cost of each Drunk Driving offense to be over $6,000. Granted, not all criminal justice expenses are drunk driving related, but how unproductive at work are excessive drinkers to equal 72% of all costs?

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