Most people know that alcohol addiction is a problem in our society, but they don’t have a complete appreciation of the full cost. Many of the ways that it hurts out society are hidden from view and difficult to detect.
It turns out that alcohol abuse doesn’t harm just individual abusers but the people around them. Addiction, for instance, leads to lower productivity, which can affect economic output, lowering wages. Lower wages then lead to lower tax revenues, denting public spending on things like hospitals and schools.
Alcohol addiction also has high healthcare costs. People with alcohol dependency issues are much more likely to have to seek the attention of medical specialists than people who do not drink to excess.
Then, of course, there is the cost of alcohol-associated motor vehicle accidents, which lead to the death and disability of thousands of people every year.
Summing all of these costs up, you find that alcohol addiction subtracts more than $249 billion from the economy every year. That’s an enormous number. What’s more, it is probably an underestimate of the real cost because it doesn’t include things like family breakdown and a loss of human capital. Nor does it take account of the emotional costs of alcohol addiction, which can affect the health and productivity of others.
Do you want to find out more about the costs of addiction? If so, check out the following infographic. It breaks down the total price of alcohol dependency by category, allowing you to see what contributes to the final figure.
Infographic design by Sante Center for Healing