- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 15, 2013

A new government study finds that excessive drinking of alcohol is costing the United States upwards of $223 billion each year in health care costs, crime, premature deaths and dwindling job productivity — and no where else in the nation is it worse than in Washington, D.C.

The Centers for Disease Control estimated that binge drinkers are hitting hard at taxpayers’ pocketbooks, to the tune of roughly $2 per cocktail, beer or glass of wine that’s imbibed, the Daily Mail reported.

The $223 billion figure is more than the total economies for Ireland or for Pakistan, the Daily Mail said.

The country’s capital city is the worst offender, touting the highest rates of alcohol consumption per year. CDC reports that each D.C. resident drank on average 680 alcoholic beverages in 2006, and each cost taxpayers an extra $1,660 in health care and other expenses that same year. Next in line as worst offenders: Alaska, New Mexico, Wyoming and Colorado.

By comparison, Utah had the lowest rates of alcohol consumption, with each resident drinking fewer than 200 in 2006 on average, and each costing taxpayers $578 in extra expenses that year, on average. Utah has a large population of Mormons, who aren’t suppose to drink alcohol per their religion’s tenets.

“Excessive alcohol use has devastating impacts on individuals, families, communities and the economy,” CDC Director Tom Friedman said in a statement reported by the Daily Mail. “In addition to injury, illness, disease and death, it costs our society billions of dollars through reduced work productivity, increased criminal justice expenses and higher health care costs.”