Restorations Therapy Blog

Excessive Drinking Negatively Affects the U.S. Economy

by on Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

Excessive Drinking

In 2010 alone, the cost of extreme alcohol use in the United States increased to about a quarter trillion dollars. Employing effective community-based interventions may lessen excessive drinking and its costs. Excessive alcohol use kills almost 90,000 people in the U.S. every year, and it also negatively affects the American economy, based on losses in productivity in the workplace.

The Center for Disease Control’s Study

A study done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that the cost of extreme alcohol use in America reached almost $250 billion in 2010 alone, which equals over $2 per consumed alcoholic beverage. Most of these costs to the economy—over three out of four (77%)—were due to binge drinking behaviors. Binge drinking is characterized by imbibing four or more alcoholic beverages at one time for women, or five or more drinks on one occasion for men.

One out of every six people reports engaging in binge drinking behaviors. Furthermore, federal, state, and local governments paid two dollars out of every five dollars related to excessive alcohol use, which means taxpayers all pay for these actions, as well. That works out to over $800 per person per year in taxpayer dollars.

Cost Breakdown

Researchers found the cost of engaging in these dangerous drinking behaviors impact the life of the drinker and the lives of those around them. Yet, most of the total economic losses occur due to:

Ways to Prevent Extreme Alcohol Consumption and in Turn, Reduce Costs to the Economy

Communities at the local level have the power to implement effective interventions to prevent their residents from drinking excessively and reduce the related harms and costs to the economy. These interventions include:

  • Increasing the price of alcohol to limit its purchase and therefore consumption
  • Avoidance of moving state-controlled alcohol sales to privatization or commercial alcohol sales
  • Making alcohol retailers legally responsible for damages or injuries caused by customers of theirs who may be underage or intoxicated
  • Regulations on the locations and number of places where alcohol is sold

Are You Seeking Help with Excessive Alcohol Use and Its Consequences?

The study conducted by the CDC may have underestimated the cost of excessive drinking to the American economy because information about alcohol is often unattainable or underreported. The study did not include other costs due to pain and suffering related to the prevalence of alcohol-related diseases and injuries. Unless there are interventions implemented at local, state, and federal levels, alcohol consumption levels, and the related excessive costs will only continue to rise. However, there is stigma and judgment related to extreme alcohol use, and those engaging in these dangerous behaviors may not feel comfortable in seeking help for their use. Fortunately, this stigma continues to lessen as further research continues and breaks down these barriers. If you or someone you know is seeking help with alcohol misuse, call us today at (720) 446-6585.

About Restorations Therapy Center

Stay informed on new services and projects