Excessive drinking can be deadly for individuals, but it’s a drain on the U.S. economy as well. According to a study released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), binge drinking cost the economy a whopping “$249 billion in 2010, or $2.05 per drink, a significant increase from $223.5 billion, or $1.90 per drink, in 2006.”
The CDC defines binge drinking as 5 or more drinks on one occasion for males and four for women was the chief culprit in these costs, according to the report, and the costs themselves were born mostly by taxpayers in the form of increased healthcare costs and other services like addiction treatment. Another big factor, however, is lost productivity at work from things like absenteeism or early death.
“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 under used.”
Alcohol is responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age Americans, according to the CDC.