A federal study finds the cost of alcohol abuse through binge drinking in Iowa totals nearly two-billion-dollars a year.
The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that figure incorporates costs from health care, the justice system and lost work productivity. Julie Hibben, a project director in the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Substance Abuse, says the impact of binge drinking on health care alone is enormous.
The C-D-C report found 23-percent of Iowans reported at least one drinking binge in the previous month. That ranks Iowa among the top five states in the U-S with the highest rates of binge drinking.
With the holidays approaching, in addition to plenty of holiday parties, Hibben says the risks of binge drinking may rise. The state health department is working with a grant program to address binge drinking among adults and underage drinkers in 23 counties.
The goal of the program, she says, is to shift societal norms. Nationally, the cost of excessive alcohol consumption is estimated at more than 200-billion dollars. An official with the C-D-C calls it a major public health issue, with costs at the state level that are of the same order of magnitude as the cost of smoking, and in many states, the same as the cost of Medicaid.