cost of alcohol

Societal factors include level of economic development, culture, social norms, availability of alcohol, and implementation and enforcement of alcohol policies. Adverse health impacts and social harm from a given level and pattern of drinking are greater for poorer societies. A variety of factors which affect the levels and patterns of alcohol consumption and the magnitude of alcohol-related problems in populations have been identified at individual and societal levels. We used each state’s average life expectancy to find the years of drinking (age 21 and over), then compared this with each city’s weekly drinking habits and cost of alcoholic drinks. The three cities that spend the most — New York, NY, Minneapolis, MN, and Miami, FL — all spend $116,000 or more on drinks over a lifetime. Those that spend the least — Birmingham, AL, New Orleans, LA, and Memphis, TN — each spend $57,000 or more.

As a consequence, the findings underscore and reiterate the message given by international organizations to reduce the use of alcohol [4]. We gathered further information on gross domestic product (GDP) and on the prevalence of past-year drinkers from the studies or from external sources if not reported. Other required covariates were adult population size (15 years or older) for the respective jurisdiction, alcohol per capita consumption—an indicator for population alcohol exposure, and regional grouping of countries/locations (henceforth, locations).

  1. To achieve this, we calculated weights for each study describing the proportion of all possible costs included, ranging from 0 to 1.
  2. Or $480 a month and $5,760 a year—which would not even account for the times you go out and drink at bars and restaurants.
  3. Despite numerous pleas to standardize the methodology (e.g. Møller and Matic [14]), we are still faced with a situation in which many different methodologies to estimate these costs have been used over the past decade [13].
  4. The harmful use of alcohol can also result in harm to other people, such as family members, friends, co-workers and strangers.

The cost of excessive alcohol use in the United States reached $249 billion in 2010, or about $2.05 per drink. Binge drinking is defined as drinking four or more alcoholic beverages per occasion for women or five or more drinks per occasion for men. Further, 2 of every 5 dollars were paid by federal, state, and local governments, demonstrating that we are all paying for excessive alcohol use. Alcohol is a psychoactive substance with dependence-producing properties that has been widely used in many cultures for centuries. The harmful use of alcohol causes a high burden of disease and has significant social and economic consequences.

How Much is Alcoholism Costing You?

†Males reporting having five or more drinks on one occasion, females reporting having four or more drinks on one occasion, in the past 30 days. The harmful use of alcohol can also result in harm to other people, such as family members, friends, co-workers and strangers.

cost of alcohol

Second, we found no clear link of alcohol exposure indicators to total costs; however, the relationship between alcohol exposure and adverse outcomes is more complex than one might initially assume. In fact, the same level of alcohol exposure will lead to higher burden in countries with lower levels of education, life expectancy and economic wealth alcohol use disorder [45]. As we did not account for these and other confounding factors in our analyses, the link between alcohol exposure may not be observable. Moreover, we do not have any external criteria for which to validate our weighting method against, thus we cannot say for certain that key methodological variations between studies were accounted for.

1 Descriptive Data

Of 1708 studies identified, 29 were included, and the mean costs of alcohol use amounted to 817.6 Int$ per adult (95% confidence interval [CI] 601.8–1033.4), equivalent to 1.5% of the GDP (95% CI 1.2–1.7%). Adjusting for omission of cost components, the economic costs of alcohol consumption were estimated to amount to 1306 Int$ per adult (95% CI 873–1738), or 2.6% (95% CI 2.0–3.1%) of the GDP. About one-third of costs (38.8%) were incurred through direct costs, while the majority of costs were due to losses in productivity (61.2%). A systematic review and meta-analyses were conducted for studies reporting costs from alcohol consumption for the years 2000 and later, using the EMBASE and MEDLINE databases. Cost estimates were converted into 2019 international dollars (Int$) per adult and into percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). Given the limited comparability of cost studies and the implications discussed above, we suggest that funding for future cost-of-illness studies should be tied to adhering to methodological standards, such as imputing cost categories to achieve better comparability between studies [13, 14].

cost of alcohol

We corroborate previous estimates, indicating that health care spendings only make up a fraction of total costs (13% in the 2009 review; 18% in our study), while productivity losses are the main cost driver (72% in the 2009 review; 61% in our study). Furthermore, our results, based on a larger number of studies from more recent years, are in line with total costs estimates of a 2009 review, according to which alcohol-attributable economic costs amounted to 2.5% and 2.1% of the GDP in high- and middle-income countries, respectively [8, 41]. While these estimates overlap with our figures after adjustment for underreporting of omitted cost components, our unadjusted estimates are well below previous findings. First, the decline in drinking levels and attributable burden in many high-income countries [41, 42]; second, a lower study quality, i.e. exclusion of relevant cost components in more recent studies; and third, overproportional increases in the GDP relative to alcohol-attributable costs.

Although there is no single risk factor that is dominant, the more vulnerabilities a person has, the more likely the person is to develop alcohol-related problems as a result of alcohol consumption. Poorer individuals experience greater health and social harms from alcohol consumption than more affluent individuals. A significant proportion of the disease burden attributable to alcohol consumption arises from unintentional and intentional injuries, including those due to road traffic crashes, violence, and suicide. Achieving a reduction in the harmful use of alcohol in line with the targets included in the SDG 2030 agenda and the WHO Global Monitoring Framework for Noncommunicable Diseases requires concerted action by countries, effective global governance and appropriate engagement of all relevant stakeholders. By working together effectively, the negative health and social consequences of alcohol can be reduced. WHO emphasizes the development, implementation and evaluation of cost-effective interventions for harmful use of alcohol as well as creating, compiling and disseminating scientific information on alcohol use and dependence, and related health and social consequences.

Factors affecting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm

However, only eight studies reported measures of uncertainty around selected point estimates and no single study reported measures of uncertainty for all estimates. As the measures of uncertainty constitute one of the two sources of variation required for random-effects meta-analyses, we relied only on the other source of variation, i.e. the difference in the methodology in estimating costs. To achieve this, we calculated weights for each study describing the proportion of all possible costs included, ranging from 0 to 1. These weights represented not only an indicator of study quality but further served to estimate the tangible costs under the assumption that all relevant cost indicators were included in the estimates. The calculation of weights started at the lowest level of costs (for a definition of cost levels, see above). First, the relative contribution of each cost category was determined by the share of costs determined by each category, averaged over all studies.

The researchers found that the cost of this dangerous behavior impacts many aspects of the drinker’s life and the lives of those around them. Our findings show that the reported costs from alcohol consumption amount to an equivalent of 1.5–2.6% of the study location’s GDP, with the majority of costs due to productivity losses. These estimates update two previous CDC studies that found excessive drinking cost the U.S. $223.5 billion and cost states and D.C. The researchers believe that the study still underestimates the cost of excessive drinking because information on alcohol is often underreported or unavailable, and the study did not include other costs, such as pain and suffering due to alcohol-related injuries and diseases. Given the adverse consequences of alcohol consumption, numerous studies have tried to summarize different impacts of alcohol on harm to society, and economic cost studies have proven to be an important way to achieve this goal [11].

If you’re regularly abusing alcohol, this may happen more often than you’d like, causing you to miss work to recover or underperform while on the job. Over time, your paid time off (PTO) for sick days or vacation may run out and you’ll have to go without pay any time you stay home from a hangover. † Number of binge drinking occasions in the past 30 days among adults who reported binge drinking. A  causal relationship has been established between harmful drinking and incidence or outcomes of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV. Online tools such as an alcohol spending calculator can be helpful in seeing how much you may be spending by drinking daily.

Calculation of Costs Attributable to Alcohol Use

Furthermore, intangible costs were estimated in very different ways, again prohibiting meta-analytical aggregation. Lastly, indirect costs were mostly calculated following a human capital approach, which make the findings more comparable, but introduces the risk of overestimation costs as the underlying assumptions may not hold true. Costs calculated under the human capital approach heavily depend on the discount rate, yet there is no consensus on which rate is to be used [14]; thus, this will continue to be a limitation when comparing cost studies. In contrast to previous reviews on the economic burden of alcohol use, we provide several novel insights.

The ranking of cities that spend the least also changed — the highest ranking three are Birmingham, AL ($1,073.07), Buffalo, NY ($1,114.57), and Richmond, VA ($1,127.00). Excessive alcohol use cost states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) a median of $3.5 billion in 2010, ranging from $488 million in North Dakota to $35 billion in California. Had the highest cost per person ($1,526, compared watch out alcohol and anxiety to the $807 national average), and New Mexico had the highest cost per drink ($2.77, compared to the $2.05 national average). Though in many states there are protections in place to prevent hiring discrimination based on DUIs and misdemeanors, the reality of it is that sometimes having a DUI or other alcohol-related offense on your record could reduce the chances of getting a job offer.

Going out for drinks is part of many people’s social lives, young and old, but it can potentially develop into a costly problem in multiple ways. For one, regular drinking can turn into a dependency, or what some people describe as functional alcoholism, giving individuals the belief that they’re in control even when they aren’t. At the same time, it’s estimated that less than 10 percent of those with alcoholism receive professional treatment. The context of drinking plays an important role in the occurrence of alcohol-related harm, particularly as a result of alcohol intoxication.

This study not only summarized the total economic costs of alcohol consumption but also systematically quantified the contribution of various key cost components. Furthermore, this study is the first to overcome the limitations of previous reviews (e.g. Rehm et al. and Thavorncharoensap [8, 9]) related to methodological differences alcohol use disorder and depressive disorders pmc in cost estimation, thus eliminating a key barrier to compare costs across studies and countries. Despite numerous pleas to standardize the methodology (e.g. Møller and Matic [14]), we are still faced with a situation in which many different methodologies to estimate these costs have been used over the past decade [13].

Summaries of such studies were published more than a decade ago [8, 9] (for a systematic review restricted to the European Union, see Barrio et al. [12]), while several dozen additional studies have been published since [13]. The identified cost studies were mainly conducted in high-income settings, with high heterogeneity in the employed methodology. Accounting for some methodological variations, our findings demonstrate that alcohol use continues to incur a high level of cost to many societies. The Global Information System on Alcohol and Health (GISAH) has been developed by WHO to dynamically present data on levels and patterns of alcohol consumption, alcohol-attributable health and social consequences and policy responses at all levels. There are gender differences in alcohol-related mortality and morbidity, as well as levels and patterns of alcohol consumption.

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