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In short: $223.5 billion dollars a year. According to a recent study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), that’s the country’s bill for excessive alcohol use each year.

What exactly is “excessive alcohol use”? For the purposes of this study, it’s mostly binge drinking: five or more drinks per outing for men and four or more drinks for women.

Almost twenty percent of American adults are binge drinkers, which works out to about 38 million people. When you factor in the lost workplace productivity, healthcare, court fees, accidents and property damage associated with 38 million excess drinkers, it’s easy to see how the tab got so large. And that’s not even counting the $24.6 billion racked up by underage drinkers.

Since the government foots nearly half of this massive bill, the CDC recommended several ways to reduce these costs, from increasing alcohol taxes to stricter alcohol service policies.

You can read more of the CDC’s findings in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 

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