Friday, August 16, 2013

The Cost of Drinking

This article recently ran in the August 15 issue of "Street Smart," the online newsletter of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions. Many Missions, like the City Rescue Mission, have some kind of ministry dedicated to meeting the needs of those who are alcoholics and/or addicts. It is no surprise to read of the devastation caused by alcoholism, as in the case of this article, or addiction. We see issues resulting from this lifestyle on an individual basis every day, in the lives of the men and women we serve. However, the cost of drinking is a cost paid by everyone, as described in this article:
A CBS News report notes that the health woes related to heavy alcohol use costs the U.S. more than $223 billion a year in health costs. Heavy drinking carries major health risks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including increased chances of long-term ailments such as liver disease, heart problems, fertility issues, some cancers, and neurological issues such as stroke or dementia. Shorter term, alcohol poisoning, traffic accidents, falls, violence, and risky sexual behaviors are also associated with large amounts of alcohol consumption. Binge drinking—defined as when men drink more than five drinks and women drink more than four drinks in two hours—is responsible for more than 70 percent of the excessive alcohol costs, a total of $171 billion annually. The report estimated state-by-state economic costs of drinking, including those from binge drinking and underage drinking. The median state cost associated with excessive drinking was $2.9 billion, with about $2 out of every $5 of these costs being paid for by the government. The state that absorbed the least alcohol costs was North Dakota, coming in at $420 million. The most costs were found in California, totaling nearly $32 billion. Researchers broke down the numbers even further and found based on population, the District of Columbia has the highest per-person cost associated with excessive drinking ($1,662 per person) while Iowa had the lowest ($622). Across all states, excessive drinking costs due to productivity losses (such as missed work) ranged from 61 percent in Wyoming to 82 percent in the District of Columbia. The share of costs due to added health care expenses ranged from 8 percent in Texas to 16 percent in Vermont.

To read the original CBS News report, click here.

The City Rescue Mission's Life Transformation Program, for those dealing with addictions, is available at no charge to men and women in need. This is a one-year, in-house, Bible-based addictions program. Visit our website,, to review the information; then call the Mission at 517.485.0145 if you have further questions.

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