If you're recovering from a night of drinking right now, you're about to get hit with a major buzzkill. Your hangover habit (along with everybody else's) is costing the country a pretty penny in lost productivity. It costs $85.3 billion -- or 8 trillion, 53 billion pennies, to be exact.
According to new statistics released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking, heavy drinking and underaged drinking cost the country about $249 billion in total per year, from that lost productivity along with expenses related to early mortality, health care, crime and criminal justice, and car crashes. Even worse, 88,000 people die every year from alcohol-related causes, according to the CDC.
The agency defines binge drinking as four or more beverages per night for a woman or five for a man, while heavy drinking is defined as eight or more drinks per week for a woman or 15 or more drinks per week for a man.
"We have a serious alcohol misuse problem in this country," George Koob, the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism previously told HuffPost. "It costs us in productivity, it costs us in health care in particular, and it costs us in lives -- drunk driving is a large contributor to fatalities on the freeway."
See the graph below for how much excessive drinking costs Americans:
Of the $249 billion that the U.S. economy pays for excessive drinking each year, the government covers about 40 percent in the form of Medicare and Medicaid payments, criminal justice costs, etc., to the tune of $100 billion per year. The rest is absorbed by companies and private citizens.
Just to make it extra clear that binge drinking negatively affects us as a nation, the CDC has helpfully calculated how much a single drink costs society, beyond its price tag. That's $2.05 per drink, or $807 per person per year on average, though that number varies from state to state based on factors like economic conditions.
See how much you're paying for excessive drinking, below:
It's worth keeping in mind that arriving at these numbers required quite a bit of estimation on the part of the CDC. The information came from a variety of studies, using data from different states and projections to calculate figures like the per-state societal cost of a drink.
That said, it's the best information we have on how heavy drinking affects our country's bottom line -- something to keep in mind tonight if you have happy hour plans.
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