Nanny State

Hangovers Cost the Economy $224 Billion Says CDC


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Should have gotten to this before the Fourth of July bingeing began. In any case, the folks over at The Atlantic are reporting a 2011 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which found that the day after "excessive" alcohol consumption worker productivity is, well, impaired. Who knew? By the way, the CDC defines excessive alcohol consumption…

…as consuming an average of more than one  alcoholic beverage per day for women, and an average of more than two alcoholic beverages per day for men, and any drinking by pregnant women or underage youth.

Two drinks? They've got to be kidding. Well, what did the researchers find anyway? From the press release:

The cost of excessive alcohol consumption in the United States in 2006 reached $223.5 billion or about $1.90 per drink, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost three–quarters of these costs were due to binge drinking, consuming four or more alcoholic beverages per occasion for women or five or more drinks per occasion for men, the report said…

Researchers found the costs largely resulted from losses in workplace productivity (72 percent of the total cost), health care expenses for problems caused by excessive drinking (11 percent of the total cost), law enforcement and other criminal justice expenses related to excessive alcohol consumption (9 percent of the total cost), and motor vehicle crash costs from impaired driving (6 percent of the total cost).  The study did not consider a number of other costs such as those due to pain and suffering by the excessive drinker or others who were affected by the drinking, and thus may be an underestimate. Researchers estimated that excessive drinking cost $746 per person in the United States in 2006.

Of course, the researchers don't just report the bad news; they also offer solutions to the problem:

"It is striking that over three–quarters of the cost of excessive alcohol consumption is due to binge drinking, which is reported by about 15 percent of U.S. adults," said Robert Brewer, M.D., M.P.H., Alcohol Program Leader at CDC and one of the authors of the report. "Fortunately, there are a number of effective public health strategies that communities can use to reduce binge drinking and related harms, such as increasing the price of alcohol and reducing the number of places that sell and serve it."

Let us all hope that Mayor Bloomberg does not ever read this study. Enjoy your weekend.