CONCORD, NH – Excessive alcohol consumption is hitting New Hampshire right where it hurts – its pocket. The number is nothing short of startling: Excessive alcohol consumption costs the state of New Hampshire at least $1.15 billion each year.
On Friday, Jan. 18, New Futures released the findings of a report that detailed the economic cost of excessive alcohol consumption in New Hampshire at Red River Theatre during a public briefing [click HERE to view video from the briefing]. The report, prepared by PolEcon, examines the economic cost of excessive alcohol consumption in four broad areas: productivity; health care; criminal justice; and other costs, like motor vehicle crashes and state and local taxes.
Linda Saunders Paquette, Executive Director of New Futures, moderated briefing. According to Paquette, “Addressing the cost of excessive alcohol consumption in New Hampshire through increased prevention and treatment services is essential to the health of the state’s economy.”
The presenters at the briefing included individuals in New Hampshire’s business, health care and criminal justice sectors as well as PolEcon’s Brian Gottlob, who compiled the report. Participating in a panel discussion on the negative effect of excessive alcohol consumption in their sectors were Joe Fletcher, Monadnock Paper Mills; Dr. Travis Harker, MD, MPH, Concord Hospital; Tricia Lucas, New Futures; Tym Rourke, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation; Assistant Commissioner Earl M. Sweeney, NH Department of Safety; and Dan White, Fairpoint Communications.
Notable findings from the report:
- Excessive alcohol consumption costs New Hampshire more than $1.15 billion annually in lost productivity and earnings, increased expenditures for healthcare, and public safety costs.
- Represents 2% of the total personal income of the state.
- Not included in this total is an additional $218.6 million in discounted lifetime earnings lost each year by the almost 300 individuals who die prematurely each year in New Hampshire as the result of excess alcohol consumption.
- Alcohol dependency resulted in an estimated 9,292 fewer male workers in the state’s labor force in 2011, which represents an overall reduction in the state’s labor force of 1.2% with an associated loss of earnings of $403.9 million.
- Over $27 million in alcohol attributed absenteeism costs are incurred by New Hampshire businesses because of excessive alcohol consumption. The implied loss of output by businesses resulting from this absenteeism is over $71 million.
- Of the 96,000 New Hampshire residents estimated to need treatment for excess alcohol consumption only 4% or 4,000 individuals received services for alcohol abuse at substance treatment facilities in New Hampshire in 2010.
- Healthcare charges attributable to excessive alcohol consumption are estimated at $206.7 million in 2011 and payments for the services are estimated at $154 million in New Hampshire, an amount equal to about 1.5% of total medical expenditures in the state.
- Alcohol-attributable offenses account for about 30% of all arrests and about 12.8% of all crimes committed in New Hampshire.
- Alcohol-attributable incarcerations increase corrections costs by $35.1 million annually.
- Overall, alcohol involved crashes are responsible for 22% of the economic costs associated with motor vehicle crashes.
View the executive summary and the full report HERE.