The research, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), revealed that over-consumption of alcohol cost the US economy approximately $2.05 per drink in 2010, a marked increase from $1.90 in 2006.
Equating to $249 billion overall, the majority of these costs were incurred through reduced workplace productivity, crime, and the cost of treating people for health problems caused by excessive drinking.
While the federal governement paid for just over 40% of these costs, the median cost per state was $3.5 billion, ranging from $488 million in North Dakota to $35 billion in California.
Furthermore, the study determined that excessive alcohol consumption causes approximately 88,000 deaths each year, including 1 in 10 deaths among working-age Americans aged 20-64.
Robert Brewer, head of CDC’s Alcohol Program and one of the study’s authors, shared his thoughts on the study’s findings:
“What surprised us in this study was the extent to which that public health impact was focused on working age adults.”
He also noted that “effective prevention strategies can reduce excessive drinking and related costs in states and communities, but they are under used.” This includes increasing alcohol taxes and limiting alcohol outlet density, among others.
The researchers compiled their cost estimates based on changes in the occurrence of alcohol-related problems and the cost of paying for them since 2006. However, the authors believe these costs have been underestimated because information on alcohol is frequently underreported or unavailable.
For the study’s full text, click here.