« Canadians' sense of well-being? Depends on who you ask | Main | Does ditching your maiden name hinder a woman's career? »

October 20, 2021

The costs of binge drinking on society

Time and again, even in this space, smokers are ripped in the media.

Stock-photo-16692549-tequilaThis ain’t the ‘50s and ‘60s. There are no more ads with heroes like Stan Musial and Mickey Mantle, imploring that “From my very first puff – man, it was Viceroys for me!” Now, smokers just hear how much of a drag they are on society, costing Canada about $11 billion in health care costs and lost productivity each year, by one estimate.

Let’s give smokers a breath though, shall we? A new report details not the societal costs of hacking butts but binge drinking, which smokers would love to tell you is just as bad.

And, according to a new report out of the U.S., the cost of each drink adds up quick.

By numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each excessive drink* is worth a tab of about $2 in health care costs and other expenses.

(*An excessive drink is classified here as any drink consumed when four, five or more are slurped on a given occasion.)

The CDC reports the costs of drinking cost society about $224 billion in 2006, the last year data was available, which worked out to about $1.90 per drink. Calculated costs, in addition to health care, included damage from car crashes, lost work productivity, expenditures for liver cirrhosis and money spent on incarcerating and prosecuting drunk drivers.

*Bing: What province pays most for cigarettes?

In Canada, to the best of this blog’s knowledge, such by-the-drink numbers have never been released. Recently, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) reported the economic burden of alcohol abuse costs each Canadian $463 per year.

“In fact,” CAMH says, “the direct health care costs for alcohol abuse in Canada exceed those of cancer.”

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...