By Mary Sauer
In 2010, $249 billion was spent as the result of excessive alcohol consumption, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This number is a significant increase from the $223.5 billion spent in 2006.
The amount spent accounts for decreased productivity in the workplace, criminal activity and health problems that are the result of heavy drinking. Additionally, most of the costly effects of excessive drinking are the direct result of binge drinking, which is consuming five or more alcoholic beverages during a single occasion.
Of the $249 billion spent in 2010 on excessive drinking, one-fifth was paid by state and federal governments, according to the CDC. However, the researchers responsible for this study aren’t sure they are able to truly capture the extent of the impact alcohol consumption has on the U.S. economy because alcohol-related incidents so frequently go unreported.
The solution? The tools are already in place, according to Robert Brewer, head of CDC’s alcohol program.
“Effective prevention strategies can reduce excessive drinking and related costs in states and communities, but they are underused,” Brewer says.