Study: Excessive Drinking Leads to Economic Burden, Especially in DC

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(Photo credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — A new health study says binge drinking causes large economic burdens to the U.S., and it’s not talking about missing the happy hour specials.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says costs accrued from excessive drinking are a result of losses in workplace productivity, health care expenses, criminal justice expenses, motor vehicle crash costs and property damage.

D.C. stood out in the study for multiple reasons. For one, the District had the highest per-person cost in the nation for the year of the study, $1,662.

The Maryland and Virginia costs per-person were $743 and $701.

And a larger percentage (82 percent) of the District’s losses that year, 2006, resulted from workplace productivity than any other state.

Total alcohol-related costs for D.C., Maryland and Virginia were $967 million, $4.2 billion and $5.4 billion, respectively.

Economic cost estimates in the study are based on an older CDC study that found that excessive drinking cost the United States as a whole $223.5 billion annually.

The study also says excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for an average of 80,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

Mentioned in the study are suggestions to help reduce costs associated with drinking, including increasing alcohol excise taxes, limiting the number of liquor stores allowed in communities and implementing dram shop liability laws.

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