Excessive amounts of alcohol can make you do really stupid things, but a new study from the Center for Disease Control says there's a wider societal cost to wild nights. The study found that collectively, drinking costs America $249 billion a year, the Washington Post reports. Most of that cost is due to binge drinking, or consuming four or more drinks in one outing.
When you divide the total cost into categories like "early mortality due to alcohol ($75 billion of the total), lost productivity and absenteeism at work ($82 billion), health-care costs ($28 billion), crime ($25 billion) and car crashes ($13 billion)," you get a better idea of how those dollars disappear—other than late-night Uber rides.
The numbers are based off previous studies that measured negative impacts of drinking, so they might not be exact, but they're still the best estimates we have of how alcohol effects society. You can even calculate the societal cost of each Corona you shotgunned last night—because each state has different economic conditions (an hour of work is worth more in New York than it is in Nevada), a drink that cost $15 in Wisconsin also cost society $0.92, while that same drink cost society $2.77 in California.
The government is shelling out for a chunk of these hidden costs: Things like crime, car crashes, healthcare costs, and early mortality are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, law enforcement, and the prison system. Collectively, the government pays for about $100 billion, and the remaining $149 billion is paid by private citizens.
In short, even if you regularly hit up happy hours, your drinking costs more than you think.