Binge drinking drains America’s $249 billion in a year

Binge drinking drains America’s $249 billion in a year

Excessive alcohol use cost the U.S. economy a staggering $249 billion in 2010, according to a study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in October, 2015. And the way it has been, this cost must have shot up rapidly over years. As per the CDC estimate, this economic burden translates to roughly $2.05 per drink, up from $1.90 per drink in 2006.

Around 71.9 percent of the $249 was due to “lost productivity.” “Impaired productivity at work,” as CDC refers it, cost the economy $77 billion. Another $29 billion was spent on treating people for drinking-related health problems. The other costs included alcohol-related deaths, crime and property damage, such as vehicles destroyed in accidents.

It is the taxpayers who bear such avoidable expenditures. As per the CDC estimate, the government paid more than $100 billion, or nearly 40 percent of the overall costs incurred by excessive drinking. Binge drinking – consuming five or more drinks on one occasion for men and four or more for women – accounted for $191.1 billion (76.7%) of costs, followed by underage drinking $24.3 billion (9.7 percent of costs); and drinking while pregnant $5.5 billion (2.2 percent of costs). The median cost per state stood at $3.5 billion.

Workplace balance affected due to excessive drinking

A huge chunk of the costs being borne by the U.S. economy is coming from the hungover employees. A whopping $77 billion is what the economy is spending due to the excessive indulgence of the U.S. workforce on alcohol. Absenteeism due to drinking also accounted for $4.6 billion of the costs.

According to the American Council for Drug Education, the employees who abuse alcohol are more likely to face problems at the workplace as compared to those who do not drink or are moderate drinkers. Attending work after an excessive drinking can triple the chances of getting hurt on the job. For example, the chances of losing concentration, productivity and work lethargy can cost you and your company both time and money. Even if you indulge in drinking occasionally, drinking in access can also hamper your professional and personal life.

A study by the American Journal of Psychiatry found that the higher the blood alcohol level is, the more likely it is that one will show signs of impairment more than 12 hours later. The hungover can lead to nausea, headaches, fatigue and also restrain from having social and professional interactions at work in addition to the possibility of still being “drunk.”

Though a single night of drinking might not affect the long-term job performance, the following day at work is bound to suffer. Addiction to alcohol can lead to a range of social, psychological and medical problems for an employee, including dependence, which may be associated with drinking or being intoxicated during working hours. This can also lead to continued deterioration of working and managing skills and increased interpersonal difficulties.

Treatment solutions

Alcohol-related job performance problems are caused due to on-the-job drinking and heavy drinking outside of work. Excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for an average of 88,000 deaths each year, including one in 10 deaths among working-age Americans aged 20-64. Washington D.C. has the highest cost per person, that is $1,526, and New Mexico has the highest cost per drink i.e. $2.77, according to CDC. Only effective prevention strategies can somewhat reduce the costs as well as drinking habits of thousands of working Americans.

Health promotion programs, for example, offered at the workplace can increase awareness of the ill effects of alcoholism, providing a window for addicts to reduce alcohol-related problems and the addiction itself. Employee assistance programs (EAPs) can help in timely assessment and refer employees for diagnosis, treatment, and other assistance. They can also liaison with healthcare companies and treatment providers.

If you or your loved one is battling with alcohol addiction, seek the help of a certified medical professional. The Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California can help you find the best treatment plans to overcome alcoholism. Chat online or call at 855-980-1715 to speak to our specialists.

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