Addiction to anything costs a lot to society as a whole. Addiction to alcohol is especially, costly to one’s health, one’s near and dear ones, and to society. Also, alcohol itself costs a lot of money, which one can certainly spend and utilize in more productive ways. It’s not just in terms of money; alcoholism also takes a toll on one’s career, health, the legal system, and overall society.

Cost to the government and society
Let’s consider the effect that alcoholism has on society. You can’t even imagine the amount of social loss that alcohol abuse has caused to society.

  • The total cost of alcoholism includes the cost of drunk driving accidents and the expense of curing related health problems.
  • It has been found by a leading organization that alcoholism can cost up to $224 billion annually to society. Out of this total amount, almost 70% of it is lost owing to productivity loss in the workplace.
  • Again, health issues account for almost 10%, drunk driving cases account for almost 5%, and increased law enforcement accounts for 10%.
  • Out of the total economic costs of alcoholism, 42% of it is being paid by local, state, and federal governments, while the rest is being borne by drinkers and their near and dear ones.

Health costs
When it comes to the health factor, alcohol-addicted individuals suffer from negligent exercise and poor nutrition. These, in turn, lead to a number of health issues. These issues again can lead to higher insurance costs, expensive prescriptions, and unprecedented medical costs.

Costs to career and income
Considering career and income, alcoholism can create an adverse impact on society due to a loss in the productivity of addicted individuals. These people, owing to their intense craving for drinking, tend to put less effort and dedication into their jobs. This results in a lack of efficient and optimal performance, missed work, as well as eventual termination from the workplace. If young people become alcohol addicted at an early age during their school years, then it takes a toll on their graduation, career growth, and entry into the job market. Alcohol addiction can eat up a person’s income and can even lead to homelessness.

Legal fees
People suffering from alcohol addiction and alcoholism are more prone to paying expensive legal fees. Such alcoholic individuals have to bear the legal fees for things like drug possession, DUI, divorce, as well as associated fines and attorney fees. Also, drunkards often have to spend time in jail or court owing to nuisances which again hamper their employment and family life.

 

Suicides
Alcohol-related car collisions and head-on crashes always kill a larger number of teens. Alcohol use is often associated with suicides, homicides, and drowning, all of which cause heavy costs to society.

Violent crimes
Alcohol use drives youth towards violent crime, provokes them into suicide attempts, and leads to traffic crashes and other related consequences.

 


Since 2001, Dr. Alexander G. Salerno has led Salerno Medical Associates in East Orange, New Jersey. Dr. Alexander Salerno focuses largely on urban communities and on delivering patient education about both medical and behavioral health issues.