Excessive alcohol consumption costs taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars a year, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2006, binge drinking, underage drinking and drinking by pregnant women cost U.S. taxpayers $223.5 billion, the CDC study showed. That breaks down to $746 per taxpayer, the researchers said, or about $1.90 for each alcoholic drink consumed that year.
Losses in workplace productivity accounted for 72 percent of the total cost. Health care expenses came in a distant second, making up 11 percent of the cost.
Money needed for law enforcement and other criminal justice expenses related to excessive drinking made up 9 percent of the total cost, while 6 percent came from motor vehicle accidents caused by alcohol-impaired driving.
Excessive alcohol consumption, as defined by the CDC, includes binge drinking, or when a woman has four or more drinks in about two hours, or a man has five or more drinks within that time. [Why We Get Dumb Drunk ]
Heavy drinking is also included — that means having more than one drink a day on average, for women, or more than two drinks a day on average for men.
The researchers noted that the price tag of excessive alcohol consumption may be underestimated. That’s because the study did not include a number of other expenses related to excessive drinking, such as medical costs for the pain and suffering experienced by excessive drinkers , or by others who were affected by drinking.
Pass it on: Excessive drinking costs the average taxpayer $746 a year.
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