ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said that excessive drinking costs the United States approximately $223.5 billion per year, with individual states averaging alcohol expenses of $2.9 billion per year.

A press release on the new findings, posted Tuesday, focused on the startling fact.

“Excessive alcohol use causes a large economic burden to states and the District of Columbia, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” the release states. “Excessive alcohol use cost states and D.C. a median of $2.9 billion in 2006, ranging from $420 million in North Dakota to $32 billion in California.”

The release added, “Economic cost estimates for states and D.C. were based on a previous CDC study that found that excessive drinking cost the United States $223.5 billion in 2006.”

Researchers learned that binge drinking accounted for most of the costs associated with excessive alcohol use and alcohol abuse – as much as 70 percent of those costs were attributed to such habits.

“Excessive alcohol use has devastating impacts on individuals, families, communities, and the economy,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden was quoted as saying in the release. “In addition to injury, illness, disease, and death, it costs our society billions of dollars through reduced work productivity, increased criminal justice expenses, and higher healthcare costs.”

He added, “Effective prevention programs can support people in making wise choices about drinking alcohol.”

Officials at the CDC also warned of the dangers inherent in alcohol abuse on its official website, adding that it is the “[third] leading lifestyle-related cause of death for the nation.”

“There are approximately 80,000 deaths attributable to excessive alcohol use each year in the United States,” the site notes. “Excessive alcohol use is responsible for 2.3 million years of potential life lost … annually, or an average of about 30 years of potential life lost for each death.”

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