CDC Says Your Hangover Is Costing The Country Hundreds Of Billions Of Dollars

Did you tie one on last night and have a few too many whiskeys/margaritas/beers? And are you at work right now, bleary-eyed and slow, or perhaps “sick” at home with a raging hangover? Your excessive drinking habits aren’t just a drain on your body, they’re costing the American economy hundreds of billions of dollars every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a new study from the CDC, the agency says excessive alcohol consumption cost U.S. $249 billion in 2010, or $2.05 per drink, a big jump from $223.5 billion, or $1.90 per drink, in 2006.

You might be thinking that your hangovers are only wasting your time and money (that bacon, egg and cheese sandwich and Gatorade don’t come free, after all), but really, they’re contributing to reduced workplace productivity, putting a ding in the economy at large. Other costs considered were due to crime and the cost of treating people for health problems caused by excessive drinking.

The CDC adds that binge drinking — five+ drinks on one occasion for men, four+ drinks for women — was responsible for 77% of those costs, with two dollars out of ever $5 of costs paid by governments.

“The increase in the costs of excessive drinking from 2006 to 2010 is concerning, particularly given the severe economic recession that occurred during these years,” said Robert Brewer, M.D., M.S.P.H., head of CDC’s Alcohol Program and one of the study’s authors. “Effective prevention strategies can reduce excessive drinking and related costs in states and communities, but they are under used.”

Washington D.C. had the highest cost per person due to excessive alcohol in 2010, at $1,526 (national average is $807), while New Mexico had the highest cost per drink ratio at $2.77, compared to a $2.05 national average.

2010 National and State Costs of Excessive Alcohol Consumption [American Journal of Preventative Medicine]