Alcohol Awareness Class Could Save America Billions

by: Mike Miller

You hear about how much drugs and alcohol cost us as a nation and society, usually glancing over the outrageous figures.  Take a second to read this short blog – it is an EYE OPENER!

Excessive drinkers aren’t just racking up a tab at their favorite pub or liquor store.

Heavy boozers cost the U.S. economy more than $220 billion in 2006 from lost work productivity, increased health care costs and law enforcement, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The costs from excessive drinking totaled $1.90 per drink and averaged out to $746 per person in the U.S., according to the study. Data from 2006 were the most recent available.

Things may be getting a little better as research from 1998 estimated the costs of excessive drinking then at around $185 billion.

Excessive alcohol consumption is defined as averaging more than a drink per day, binge drinking — four or more drinks for women and five or more for men on a single occasion — or any alcohol consumption at all by pregnant women or underage youth.

The research highlighted the costs incurred by drinkers beyond the damage to their own wallets. About $94.2 billion, or 42%, of the total economic costs were government dollars. Families, mostly through lost household income, bore more than $90 billion in costs.

The study focused solely on the financial impact of drinking way too much. There are no health benefits with excessive drinking.

Binge drinkers represented about three-quarters of the societal costs of excessive drinking, even though they make up about 15% of the total population.

Researchers analyzed data from multiple sources including the Alcohol-Related Disease Impact Application, the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol-Related Conditions and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Those are staggering numbers.  Perhaps the high school curriculum could add an online alcohol class for all adolescents.