Healthcare News & Insights

Binge drinking cost: $2 a pop

The cost to society of an individual tying an extra one on is about $2 per drink, according to a new study by the CDC. That figure is the estimated cost of medical expenses, lost productivity, crimes and incarcerations and other related societal expenses. On a per-drink-basis that may not seem like much, but it amounted to an estimated $224 billion in 2006, the last year for which data was available.

Most of the costs, about 80%, are absorbed by federal, state and local governments; the rest by drinkers and their families, health insurers, victims of the drinkers’ crimes and other innocent bystanders.

For comparison’s sake, the CDC estimates the societal cost of smoking to be about $193 billion annually.

The study was published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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