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Report: Binge drinking costs Wisconsin $3.9 billion each year

10/21/2019 12:11 PM | Anonymous

October 21, Wisconsin Health News

The annual economic cost of binge drinking in Wisconsin is $3.9 billion, according to a new report from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

The report called binge drinking a “critical public health concern" and said it leads to increased spending on healthcare, crime and other costs.

“Everyone who lives and works in Wisconsin is affected by the health and economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption, including binge drinking,” the report noted.

The prevalence of binge drinking in Wisconsin last year was 24 percent, compared to the median of 16 percent in the United States.

Productivity losses contributed to 66 percent of the total cost of binge drinking, with 10 percent attributed to healthcare, 15 percent to criminal justice and 9 percent to other losses like motor-vehicle crashes. The annual cost per resident, including children, is $666.

Local, state and federal governments pay for around 41.4 percent of total binge drinking costs, which is around $1.6 billion. 

The state alcohol tax revenue in Wisconsin last year was $609 million, 1.6 percent of the total cost of binge drinking.

The report noted limitations like the numbers being “substantially underestimated” due to gaps in data and by not including intangible costs like pain and suffering.

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