Poverty and Public Health
5:33 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

CDC Says Excessive Drinking Costs Taxpayers Billions

The cost of excessive alcohol consumption in the United States reached $223.5 billion in 2006 or about $1.90 per drink.
The cost of excessive alcohol consumption in the United States reached $223.5 billion in 2006 or about $1.90 per drink.
Credit Centers for Disease Control

Excessive alcohol consumption cost United States taxpayers more than $220 billion in 2006. That's according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control.

According to the CDC, excessive alcohol consumption, primarily binge drinking, poses a huge public health problem across the country. Major economic impacts include police responses to violence and treatment of health problems related to alcohol.

The CDC reports excessive drinkers paid less than half of the costs associated with heavy consumption.
In California the estimated cost to citizens was more than $31 billion. In Arizona it was more than $5 billion.

The CDC's Robert Brewer says in New Mexico, excessive drinking in 2006 brought a price tag of nearly $2 billion, which breaks down to about $960 dollars per person.

"This is a very expensive problem in New Mexico, and about 42 percent of those costs are paid for by government," Brewer said. "There's a large cost to taxpayers in covering expenses like healthcare, criminal justice, and lost productivity as well."

Brewer hopes the report will help policy makers understand the public health risks of heavy drinking through an economic lens.