NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Next time you’re thinking of having that “one more drink” that’s going to put you over the limit, think about what you’re doing to your country.
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.
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.
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.
Booze isn’t the only habit that hits your wallet. Check out MainStreet’s roundup of what various vices cost you.
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