Are you willing to pay an extra $2 for your beer? That’s the amount, per drink, that excessive drinking costs the US in medical expenses and other societal costs including lost work productivity, car crash-related property damage, and incarceration for alcohol-related crimes, according to a new CDC calculation. Such costs amounted to nearly $224 billion in 2006, or $1.90 per alcoholic beverage, the AP reports.
But though federal, state, and local governments paid for 80 cents of that $1.90, the rest was spent by others including the drinkers themselves, their families, private health insurers, employers, and victims of alcohol-related crimes. Most of the cost was related to binge drinking, occasions during which four or five drinks were consumed. Says the CDC director, “Binge drinking results in binge spending.”