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UW-Madison study shows adult binge drinking costs Wisconsin $4 billion annually

MADISON, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health released a study Thursday showing adult binge drinking costs Wisconsin $4 billion a year.

According to a news release from the university, the study found binge drinking in Wisconsin cost nearly $4 billion last year, or around $700 per resident.

The study showed that $2.6 billion, or more than two-thirds of binge-drinking costs, was in lost productivity

“This important report makes it clear that every resident of Wisconsin, regardless of age or personal alcohol use, pays for binge drinking,” said Julia Sherman, coordinator of the Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project at UW-Madison, who reviewed the report.

“By providing county estimates based on local data, this report enables a local discussion of binge drinking and the binge drinking tab we are all paying," Sherman said. 

The Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project provides resources to organizations and groups that work to reduce alcohol-related problems. 

The Burden of Binge Drinking in Wisconsin report, which is funded by a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, highlights state and county-level costs with binge drinking.

Statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Justice revealed excessive alcohol consumption in the state led to roughly 79,000 alcohol-related hospitalizations last year, along with 25,000 driving under the influence arrests and 2,500 alcohol-related deaths. 

"There are serious health risks associated with binge drinking and now we also know the financial cost it is inflicting on the state,” Sherman said. “We hope this report can be used to help facilitate discussion at the local level about the use of evidence-based prevention strategies, which can reduce the negative health, social and economic impacts of binge drinking.”

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