Researchers Say Texans' Drinking Costs America $16 Billion a Year, Should Have a Drink and Chill

Categories: Healthcare, News

Thumbnail image for drunk.jpg
A rough approximation of what the CDC thinks of Texas.
The professional buzz kills at the Centers for Disease Control have no shortage of sobering alcohol statistics to aid their campaign against excessive drinking: 14,000 people die each year in drunk-driving crashes; 36,000 are killed by alcohol-related liver disease, hypertension, and other chronic illnesses; and another 5,500 are killed in drunken falls, mostly on St. Patrick's Day.

But if fear of a painful and completely avoidable death isn't motivation enough for everyday Americans to put down those vodka-bongs, maybe an appeal to their brokeness will do the trick. This week, the CDC came out with a state-by-state breakdown of the $223.5 billion that alcohol abuse costs the country.

Texas, you may or may not be surprised to learn, hits the bottle pretty hard. Not nearly as hard as California, mind you, whose tab was twice that of the Lone Star state, but hard enough to come in second place with $16.5 billion.

That number is the sum of various costs, both direct and indirect. The CDC takes into account increased health care expenses, property damage from fires and car wrecks, crime, extra police and court costs. It also tosses in missed work, reduced earning potential, and productivity losses that occur when workers wind up dead or in jail or are simply nursing hangovers. Taxpayers bear about 40.7 percent of the costs, with drunks and their families picking up a bit more of the tab.

The CDC's numbers to contain is a sliver of good news for Texas. The state's place at the top of the list is due mainly to its size. When costs are calculated on a per capita ($703 per person) or per-drink ($1.89) costs, we're closer to the middle of the pack.

CDC Drinking Study

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25 comments
MadMonk
MadMonk

Alcohol is big business and they make an absolute killing (pun intended) on taxing it, and then busting people for having two drinks or more. Regardless, there are so many variables in coming up with a number like that as to make it almost meaningless.
How much do you think texting and "smart"phones cost us?
How about people that frankly aren't very smart and make bad decisions, or are accident prone?
We could generate numbers for those and it will still be meaningless.
What's the point anyway?  Prohibition if you recall was not a great success.

Obummer
Obummer

Yo eyez availablez fo’ somez Colt 45 uh diplomacy.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Old Ben may not have actually said it but I believe it.  "Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy"

The CDC needs to find some real work to do -

Sonya Kuris
Sonya Kuris

You should've piggy-backed this to the trader joe's rant, or article if you're feeling generous.

adam578
adam578

We should go for #1. I'm doing my share.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Beer Bitches  and Beaches....well we got 2 of the 3 in Dallas

Oxtail
Oxtail

"That number is the sum of various costs, both direct and indirect." 

Did they include how much business was generated over drinks at Country Clubs, bars, and networking events?

Anyone remember how Don Draper got hired?

Jon Daniel Pilgrim
Jon Daniel Pilgrim

Some of us like to have a drink in the morning...some of us eat mayo on our french fries. Its all the same

Max Ward
Max Ward

Are you saying my smoking/drinking habit is funding thousands of children's education? I'm basically a saint

Garrett Mobley
Garrett Mobley

Fun fact. In alcohol purchases alone in Texas (meaning from a consumer at the bar) the state of Texas brings in $1B in tax revenue. They also bring in 25% of that in various taxes related to getting that booze to the bar via the various means of distribution and handling. Texas also pulls in approximately $350M in Cigarette and Tobacco Texas sold through bars, plus an additional 25% related taxes to THAT. Since many "drunks" also go out to eat after to cool down and sober up, I'm betting a significant portion of Texas' $4.5B franchise taxes end up there. We'll ignore the motor fuel taxes from getting to and from the place and the possible hotel room taxes and sales taxes through a taxi. But the impact isn't quite as high as the CDCs claim when netted with revenue.

Max Ward
Max Ward

That was a conservative estimate :(

Matt A Hale
Matt A Hale

Yep, and sales tax, capital gain, and job creation don't seem to be factored in as an offset.

Kacy Howe
Kacy Howe

Pssh you're 4.9 at best; stop overselling.

Max Ward
Max Ward

Personally responsible for about 6.5 billion of that.

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

This is depressing me - I need a drink.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

If they lowered the cost of alcohol, would that help?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Basically, all they did was take the 2006 national cost estimate and allocate it to the individual states.  In research, this is called a derivative work and really adds nothing to the body of information.  We would really need to look at the 2006 national study to determine if the national estimate is anywhere near valid.

MaxNoDifference
MaxNoDifference

@ScottsMerkin I think you're missing a comma, but hey - 1 out of 2 isn't bad.  Or unless you want to go with "Beer, Bitches, Beer Bitches, and Beaches".  Then we're 3 for 4 - a nice solid "C" average.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@CitzenKim 

Homer Simpson approves.

Alcohol, the cause of and solution to all of life's problems.

iwearblack
iwearblack

@CitzenKim As a charter member of Drinkers Against Meddling Muthas (DAMM), I support your choice...

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