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MN Department of Health explains the cost of excessive drinking

Excessive drinking cost Minnesotans nearly $8 billion in 2019.

MINNEAPOLIS — In a state where you can find more than 220 craft breweries, having a drink may be common culture.

But a new Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) study focuses on the costs of excessive drinking.

"For a long time we've known that alcohol, especially excessive drinking can have some really big impacts on the health of an individual, but we know the impacts of alcohol go beyond individual health," MDH Senior Researcher and Alcohol Epidemiologist Kari Gloppen said.

Gloppen said the study focuses on financial ripples that excessive drinking makes.

"I think the main thing is that excessive drinking is really costly, almost $8 billion in 2019, and that's $1,383 dollars per Minnesota resident," she said.

Almost three quarters of the financial costs could be blamed on lost productivity, like not showing up to work.

Binge drinking, which is considered four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men, accounts for about $5.7 billion of the cost, due to things like lost productivity, crime and motor vehicle crashes.

"Specifically for crime it did include things like criminal justice system costs, jail and prison costs, the time of law enforcement officials," Gloppen explained. "Damage to property and damage to the victims of crime and time missed from work for them."

She said the study was done to raise awareness about the effects drinking can have-- not just on an individual, but also on a family or community.

"Having even four drinks on occasion may not seem like a lot-- can be problematic, it contributes not only to injury, violence and chronic condition but also to our economy and all parts of society," Gloppen said.

She suggested checking the CDC's Check Your Drinking tool out, if you feel uncomfortable with the amount of alcohol you are drinking. 

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