(HealthDay News) — Excessive drinking cost the United States $249 billion — $2.05 a drink — in 2010, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

That’s a significant increase from $223.45 billion — $1.90 a drink — in 2006, the team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. Most of the costs are due to lower worker productivity, crime, and treating health problems caused by excessive drinking. 

Two of every $5 of costs — more than $100 billion — was paid by governments. Seventy-seven percent of the costs were related to binge drinking, defined as 5 or more drinks on one occasion for men or 4 or more drinks on one occasion for women.

The researchers found that excessive drinking cost states and the District of Columbia a median of $3.5 billion each in 2010, ranging from $488 million in North Dakota to $35 billion in California. The per-person cost of excessive drinking was highest in Washington D.C. at $1,526 vs the national average of $807, while New Mexico had the highest cost per drink at $2.77 vs the national average of $2.05.

“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,” study author Robert Brewer, MD, MSPH, head of the CDC’s Alcohol Program, said in an agency news release. 

“Effective prevention strategies can reduce excessive drinking and related costs in states and communities, but they are underused,” he added.


  1. Sacks JJ, Gonzales KR, Bouchery EE, Tomedi LE, Brewer RD. 2010 National and State Costs of Excessive Alcohol Consumption. Am J Prev Med. 2015;49(5):e73-e79.