Drunks cost America $223 billion a year
About 72% of that is due to lost productivity at work. Think hangovers and Don Draper wannabes.
This post comes from Matt Brownell at partner site MainStreet.
According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drunks cost this country $223 billion a year through excess alcohol consumption. The human toll is also dismal: Drinking too much takes approximately 79,000 American lives a year.
So why does heavy drinking cost so much?
For the most part, it has to do with lost productivity at work, which accounts for 72% of the economic impact; presumably this is mainly attributed to employees with hangovers and businessmen trying to resurrect the three-martini lunches of old. The other big factors are health care costs (binge drinking isn't exactly good for your health), criminal justice system expenses stemming from alcohol-related incidents, and car crashes resulting from DUIs. Post continues after video.
While the study looked at the overall economic impact of problem drinkers, booze can also hit your own wallet hard -- even if you're a responsible drinker. As MainStreet learned last year, the average American spends close to $100 a month in bars and liquor stores -- money that could add up to an extra $35,000 in your retirement account by the time you turn 65 if you decide to save instead of drink. (Are you saving enough for retirement? Try MSN Money's calculator.)
The CDC defines "excessive alcohol consumption" as binge drinking (four or more drinks in one sitting for a woman, five or more for a man), heavy drinking (more than one drink a day on average for a woman, or more than two drinks a day for a man) and any drinking done by a pregnant woman or child.
More on MainStreet and MSN Money:
So did you subtract the billions of dollars in revenue that "drunks" contribute to the American economy each year by patronizing their neighborhood bars, night clubs, and liquor stores?
If the average adult american spends $100/month, times 12 months/year, times 200 million adults, this adds 240 billion to the economy annually. Not to mention the huge industries created to "help" these poor people. Looks like a net positive, to me.
The article may have missed the cost to families who lose family members (who are driving sober) to drunk drivers in accidents.
Also, I sort of agree with raymond covit about the benefits of pot smokers.
AND he is right, lifelong smokers (on average) die sooner than non-smokers so they do
(as a group) collect less in social security benefits.
No doubt that alcoholics cost our US society billions and billions.
i am so sick of hearing from the risk management people and the financial sector of healthcare with their stories about how peoples lifestyles are broken down into $ amounts. I remember when people had the choice to make decisions and they were the ones who paid the penalty for not doing the right thing. So is this suppose to make me angry about those that drink just like these groups did with smokers? Well I say to each his/her own. I don't need some number cruncher to dictate how I live my life, or put a price on what I do and do not do.
I'll tell you what, how much undo stress and distress do all these ridiculous statements cause society. STOP MICRO MANAGING PEOPLES LIVES!!!!
And the cig smokers die and don't collect social security, on the other hand pot , booze and cigs save us billions in psychiatric visits.
Just replay these statistics (lost productivity at work, car crashes, etc.) for a "legal marijuana" scenario. Impaired by one is impaired by the other. Both have medicinal claims and ancient history. Both have a dulling effect on response systems. Both leave a nauseating scent on the user. At least stinky cigarette smokers exhibit a short-lived brain spike after they return to the office!
Wow, I'm starting to think that a majority of people who comment on this site are pot smokers. Say anything outside of the NORML party line and BAM, no love! Just check out what an expert says at MSN Health (cannot share a URL in this post) about pot smoking and cancer (causes, not cures) and think again. It really WILL increase everyone's insurance, even in the privacy of your living room.
Costs are relative, what is the cost of doing without? If we all stop ,doesn't the lack off money movement have an extremely bad impact on the economy? What about the loss of jobs? a lot of people work in the liqueur industry. How about health benefits when used in moderation. Alcohol , Food, Drugs , medicines , religion , politics.. All have a cost when taken beyond moderation.
As for lost productivity, Well , Harumf, Don't most of the employers out there underpay and overwork their employees? But the job still gets done, What lost productivity? they already bleed us dry !
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