Excessive Alcohol Consumption is Costing Wisconsin
NBC26 Live at 6:00 Video by nbc26.comvideo
GREEN BAY - A new report out Tuesday shows excessive alcohol consumption is costing our state close to $7 billion every year.
The startling numbers were released during a news conference at Bellin Hospital. The report shows that in Brown County alone, it costs $318 million a year to pay for things like health care, lost productivity, and law enforcement costs related to alcohol.
Workers with Health First Wisconsin say individuals are paying close to $1,200 every year just to deal with costs related to excessive alcohol use in our state.
"When we think about a family of four paying almost 5,000 dollars because of excessive alcohol consumption -- what could that family do with 5,000 dollars?" asked Barbara Coniff, director of the Libertas Treatment Center.
The report also shows that alcohol abuse contributes to 1,500 deaths in Wisconsin each year.
"Our binge drinking rate is one of the highest in the nation, and we have to do something about that.," said Laura Heib, Chief Nursing Officer at Bellin Hospital.
Health First Policy Specialist Paul Krupski says he hopes state legislators will see the numbers as a wake-up call and make changes to state policy.
"The policies we're suggesting are sobriety checkpoints, an increase in alcohol taxes -- and then also removing the parental exemption, so you need to be 21 years old to drink in licensed establishments like bars and restaurants," he said.
The report also finds Brown County to be 9 percent above the national rate for binge drinking and 2 percent above the state rate.