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HEALTH – Alcohol Causes Cancer and Cost Taxpayers $2.+ per drink

The cost of this dangerous behavior impacts many aspects of the drinker’s life and the lives of those around them. However, most of the costs resulted from losses in workplace productivity (72% of the total cost), health care expenses for treating problems caused by excessive drinking (11% of total), law enforcement and other criminal justice expenses (10%), and losses from motor vehicle crashes related to excessive alcohol use (5%).

Alcohol is also an important—though often overlooked—risk factor for cancer. In fact, studies have shown that alcohol was responsible for about 20,000 cancer deaths in the United States in 2009.  Alcohol is known to be a risk factor for cancers of the head and neck (mouth, throat, and voice box), liver, colon, rectum, and breast. According to the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society, this risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. Yet about 1 in 6 U.S. adults binge drinks** an average of 4 times per month, and consumes an average of 8 drinks per binge episode, far exceeding the definition of moderate drinking specified in the Dietary Guidelines.

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