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The drinks are on you! Americans are 'picking up the tab' to the tune of $223 billion due to alcohol abuse

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 19th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

If you imbibe alcoholic beverages, there's comes a point where you've had a little too much to drink. Feeling hungover and sick, so you call in, or roll into work and perform below your normal expectations. The United States is picking up the tab for your drinks - at the cost of $223 billion dollars a  year. Lost worker productivity due to alcohol abuse is costing the U.S. Plenty.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In a complicated analysis of different costs associated with excessive drinking, researchers looked at results from around the  U.S. There were a lot of variables in different parts of the country, but the numbers add up to a very expensive habit.
 
"The economic cost of excessive drinking was about $223.5 billion in 2006, which works out to be about $1.90 per drink, and over $700 per person," Robert Brewer, MD, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

The high cost of alcohol abuse include health care, the expense of prosecuting drinking-related crimes and property damage from road accidents. However - Brewer stresses that the biggest expense relates to lost job productivity. Employees with drinking problems tend to have lower-paying jobs, tend to be more absent and be less productive when they are on the job.


"In addition to that, a number of people die of alcohol-attributable conditions," Brewer says. "And many of those folks die in the prime of their life. So there's the personal tragedy there. But there's also a huge economic cost to somebody dying, for example, in an alcohol-related motor vehicle crash at age 35 which eliminates several decades of the victim's working life."

 
It should be reiterated that this study concerns the costs of excessive alcohol use - and not the occasional beer or a glass of wine with dinner. Most of the costs, Brewer says, stem from binge drinking.
 
Brewer adds that binge drinking is not limited to the U.S. Many other countries have problems with what the World Health Organization calls "harmful use of alcohol." The exact dollar impact may be different.
 
"But I think that it is very reasonable to assume that harmful alcohol use is going to result in some of the same consequences in other countries, even if the costs associated with those consequences are different," Brewer said.


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