An estimated 80,000 people a year drink themselves to death nationally at great expense, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, led by Californians who cost the state $32 billion in one year alone beyond the price of a drink.
The study of excessive drinking, put together in 2011-12, used a broad array of data from 2006, just before the economic crash gave people a few more good reasons to get drunk.
California’s share amounted to 14.3% of the $223.5 billion researchers said the country spent on “losses in workplace productivity, health care expenses, and other costs due to a combination of criminal justice expenses, motor vehicle crash costs, and property damage.”
California, like all states, saw its greatest expense in loss of productivity (75%), followed by healthcare (9.5%). The rest was scattered among other categories.
Most of the excess nationally (70%) came from binge drinking, which was described as five drinks for men per occasion and four for women. In California, that number was 73.9%. But contributions were also made by heavy drinkers (two a day for men, one for women), young people under 21 and pregnant women. California underage drinking was 10.9% of the total cost, a bit under the 11.2% median.
Although California, with its huge population, dominated total cost numbers, they were closer to the middle of the pack when measured per capita. California’s per capita excessive drinking was $874, around half of that recorded by the District of Columbia ($1,662). The state median is $703.
Utah had the lowest per capita excessive drinking ($578), followed by West Virginia, ($621), Iowa ($622) Nebraska ($632). After D.C., the highest per capita drinking states were Alaska ($1,096), New Mexico ($960), Wyoming ($909) and Colorado ($906).
The study used data from a number of sources, including Alcohol-Related Disease Impact Application, the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol-Related Conditions, and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. It assessed the costs across 26 cost categories.
Government in general picked up 42.1% of the cost for this wild and crazy behavior.