News / Economy

Study Calculates High Cost of Heavy Drinking

Excessive alcohol consumption costs Americans $224 billion a year, according to a new study.
Excessive alcohol consumption costs Americans $224 billion a year, according to a new study.

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

Excessive alcohol consumption in the United States costs Americans more than $200 billion a year, according to a new study.

That hefty bill includes the medical costs related to heavy drinking, plus the impact of alcohol abuse on law enforcement agencies and employers.

The researchers found the biggest contributor to the total costs of excessive alcohol use was a drop in workplace productivity, but the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,  Thomas R. Frieden, MD, told reporters that heavy drinking also contributes to a wide range of chronic health problems, including cirrhosis of the liver, "cancers, including liver, mouth, throat; high blood pressure; mental health problems; injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, burns, and firearm injuries; violence, including child maltreatment, homicide, suicide, and domestic violence. All are substantially contributed to by unhealthy patterns of alcohol intake."

This study is limited to excessive drinking, which is defined in the CDC study as more than one alcoholic drink per day for women, more than two per day for men, and any drinking at all by pregnant women and underage youth. Other research has found light-to-moderate drinking can often have benefits.

CDC director Frieden says the price of heavy alcohol use averages out to just under $2 a drink.

The estimated costs for 2006, the most recent year available, climbed $40 billion over the costs found in a similar 1998 study. And CDC Alcohol Program official Robert Brewer, MD, suggests that the findings may understate the problem.

"Now, I should tell you that our estimates here are very conservative, yet the number that we are reporting here - $223.5 billion - is huge," Brewer said.

The study on the costs of excessive drinking in the United States is published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

In separate research on the health effects of alcohol, heavy drinkers were found to be at higher risk of lung cancer.

The study, by researchers at Kaiser Permanente in California, used data from a group of more than 125,000 people, who were followed for as long as 30 years to assess various lung cancer risk factors. Those who had more than three alcoholic drinks a day were more likely to get lung cancer, but the increased risk did not apply to more moderate drinkers.

The researchers, led by Stanton T. Siu, MD, presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians in Hawaii.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9211
JPY
USD
119.18
GBP
USD
0.6722
CAD
USD
1.2509
INR
USD
62.518

Rates may not be current.