The Economic Cost Of Heavy Drinking

Some food, or rather, some drink for thought.

A recently released study conducted for the CDC Foundation estimates that the economic costs of excessive drinking in American totaled $223.5 billion in 2006. Binge drinking accounted for 76.4%, or $170.7 billion of the total costs, according to the report. Binge drinking is defined as 4 or more drinks for women and 5 or more drinks for men within a two-hour period.

The report estimates that the per capita cost of excessive drinking was approximately $746 for every man, woman, and child in the United States in 2006.

Here is a breakdown of the cost of excessive drinking:

  • 72.2% ($161.3 billion) – Lost productivity
  • 11% ($24.6 billion) – Healthcare
  • 9.4% ($21.0 billion) – Criminal Justice
  • 7.5% ($16.7 billion) – Other costs (e.g., property damage)

(The study was conducted for the CDC Foundation, a nonprofit enterprise that creates programs with the Centers for Disease Control for fighting threats to health. The study analyzed 2006 costs obtained from national databases.)

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