Downing that gin downs the economy, too

Apparently binge drinking doesn't just harm your body, it also harms the U.S. economy. A lot.

Excessive drinking cost the economy $249 billion in 2010 in the form of lost productivity, crime and the cost of treating health problems, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That comes out to $2.05 per drink.

More than three-fourths of the costs, or 77 percent, was due to binge drinking, which the agency defines as consuming five or more drinks for men or four drinks for women on one occasion.

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Health officials said they were dismayed by the increase from $223.5 billion in 2006, especially since the U.S. was in a recession starting in 2008.

"Effective prevention strategies can reduce excessive drinking and related costs in states and communities, but they are under used," said Robert Brewer, one of the study's authors.

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