Report: Alcohol abuse costs La Crosse County $105 million annual - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Report: Alcohol abuse costs La Crosse County $105 million annually


La Crosse County (WXOW) -- An update from the "Burden of Risky Alcohol Use in La Crosse County" shows that alcohol use has an economic cost of $105 million annually. 

The report was created by the Changing the Culture of Risky Drinking Behavior Coalition. 

This is the fourth report, the last of which was in 2015. The report is a collaborative research effort spurred following a number of alcohol related deaths in the past two decades.

The latest shows many slight declines since previous reports, however most rates are higher than the national average. Risky behavior and binge drinking among high school, college and adults has declined, however binge drinking rates increase significantly from high school to college. Heavy drinking increased 3.5 times among females over the age of 65.

Alcohol related citations have declined since 2007, with underage citations declining the most significantly. 

Alcohol related motor vehicle crashes increased slightly. Most crashes happen on local roads, more than half of which involve 16 to 24 year olds on those roads. However, over all 25-44 year olds are most affected by alcohol related crashes. 

Approximately 150 deaths are attributed to alcohol each year. That has slowly declined overall since 2004, however injury death rates (accidents, homicides and suicides) have increased significantly, particularly among the 65+ age group (this is not the primary cause of death among that age group). A quarter of violent deaths are linked to alcohol, the most common manner of which is suicide.

Perception of alcohol as a major concern is down, with opioid and illegal drug use in the forefront of most La Crosse county residents minds.

The economic cost of alcohol abuse is an estimated $11.5 million in healthcare, $75.8 million in lost productivity in the workplace, and $17.7 million in all other costs including criminal justice and motor vehicle crashes.

Altogether La Crosse County pays approximately $105 million each year based on the report, averaging out to $915.72 per person.

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