Americans imbibe about 117 billion alcoholic drinks each year, and that excessive drinking comes with a hefty economic price tag, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Excessive drinking costs the economy over $220 billion in 2006, about $1.90 per drink and $746 per person. Seventy-two percent of the costs were due to lost productivity, followed by 11 percent in increased health care costs and 9 percent in crime.
Just a small percentage–15 percent–of binge drinkers are responsible for three quarters of the total cost of excessive alcohol consumption. The costs are about evenly divided between the government and drinkers, with bearing the burden for health care and drinkers bearing the cost of low productivity. Federal, state, and local governments shouldered $94.2 billion (42 percent) of the economic costs, and drinkers and their families bore $92.9 billion (41.5) percent.