Alcoholism and health news on which journalist Scott Stevens has reported, with additional commentary from the award-winning international self-help author.
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Alcohol's pricetag? Enough for every citizen to get a free 48 in. HDTV each year
Drinking alcohol is a cultural norm in this country and most of the planet. Has been for a long time. And that isn't likely to change much in my lifetime. The Sobriety :60+ episodes look at the various health consequences for the drinker, and some of safety concerns for anyone around the drinker. (Watch and share this new episode.) The monetary consequences are something everyone shares: Drinkers and non-drinkers alike. The numbers get complicated, because the drug Americans enjoy and defend so vigorously, also costs the most in health and hard dollars. But there are a few ways to simplify the discussion.
Each drink consumed has a median cost of $1.91 in economic harm (lost productivity, health care costs, property damage and criminal justice system expenses). That's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So the drinker pays for that in alcohol tax, right? No. Not even drinking the way overpriced hotel room mini-bar beverages does anyone pony up $1.91 in taxes per drink. The median paid in tax per drink is less than a quarter. To put it another way, how much I drink is everyone's business, because what the government has to pay, we all pay anyway.
Even if drinkers bore the full $1.91, everyone else still pays. Look at lost productivity. Showing up late, never, hungover or just without your A-game. Someone has to step in or step up, but it doesn't always happen that way. That costs the company, so the company has to charge more for its goods or services. Lost productivity, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is more than 70 percent of the $224 billion annual costs of alcohol use in the United States. We all pay… no matter if we shop Walmart or Macy's.
The all-in number is staggering at $224 billion a year. Not a single penny of this whopping total reflects pain and suffering of everyone around the drinker, or the drinker himself. $224 billion is enough to give everyone – drinker or non-drinker – every man, woman and child in the U.S., a nice, new, 48-inch LED HDTV every year. Of course, when you quit drinking, you could just buy yourself one with the money you're not spending at the liquor store.
Visit alcohologist.com for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens. Host Ed Forteau led a discussion on risky myths of about "healthy" drinking.Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature on Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore." Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud also can be found on www.alcohologist.com, plus the NEW book, Adding Fire to the Fuel, is now available. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today.