Alcohol binges are hurting not just the body but also national spending.

These are new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published in the American Journal of Preventive Health, which show excessive drinking cost the U.S. economy a total of $249 billion — or $2.05 per drink and $807 per person — in 2010 alone.

The figures are a significant increase from $223.5 billion or $1.90 per drink spent in 2006.

Robert Brewer, head of the alcohol program of CDC, called the rise in costs "concerning," especially with the severe economic crunch happening from 2006 to 2010.

On the state level, excessive drinking accounted for an average of $3.5 billion in spending per state, where California incurred $35 billion. The highest cost per person was recorded for Washington D.C. at $1,526, in contrast with the $807 national average.

The cost estimates for 2010 were based on changes in rates of alcohol-related issues and the cost of paying for them since 2006. The CDC did not provide figures for 2015.

The researchers, however, believe the costs could actually be higher given unavailable or unreported information on alcohol consumption.

A huge chunk of the economic toll of excessive alcohol intake is impaired productivity in the workplace or absenteeism, which took $77 billion of the total cost (71.9 percent) in the study. Other factors include crimes, accidents and the cost of health treatments (11.4 percent).

In the U.S., around 88,000 die every year because of alcohol-related incidents, including one in 10 among working adults aged 20 to 64 years old.

Brewer called for effective prevention strategies to cut the rates of drinking and their related effects in both local communities and states, including raising alcohol excise taxes.

"It is clear that excessive alcohol consumption is very expensive, that these costs are largely due to binge drinking, and that a substantial proportion of these costs are borne by taxpayers, including non-drinkers," concluded the researchers.

The burden, after all, is not only on the person having one too many, but also on his or her family, society and taxpayers, they added.

Photo: Chris Combe | Flickr

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