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The Daily

Coming into Work Hung Over Costing Nation Billions

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Oct 19, 2015
BeerMoneyYou wake up, barely, to an alarm that cruelly tells you that it's time to get up and get ready for work. You stumble out of bed and get into the shower, thinking maybe that will perk you up. It doesn't. You get a glass of water and chug it down. You feel a little better, but not that much. You spend about three minutes sitting on the bed staring at your socks on the floor before remembering you're supposed to wear them. Still, against all odds, eventually you manage to dress yourself, pop two Tylenol, and make it to the office, where the overhead lighting feels especially harsh on your eyes today. 

Last night's happy hour sure was fun, you think as you slide into your chair, but maybe next time you'll go a little easier on those neon blue drinks with the tiny umbrellas in them. But that's for later. For now, you get your coffee, another big glass of water, and begin powering through your day. Sure, you're not at 100 percent. If you were being honest with yourself, you're not even at 50 percent. But you know it's just a matter of surviving, of getting through the next ten hours before you can go home, order some takeout, and fall asleep in front of the TV. 

Millions of people across America have days like this, and a recent report from the CDC has found that it's costing the country billions in lost productivity. The CDC estimates that lost productivity due to excessive alcohol consumption amounts to about $179 billion per year, of which impaired productivity at work, plus people who just plain don't come into work the next day, accounted for about $81 billion. The remaining sum accounts for lost productivity at home, impaired productivity while in specialty care, impaired productivity while in hospital, mortality, incarceration, crime victims, and fetal alcohol syndrome. 

As large as this number is, it's still not nearly as big as the total costs of excessive alcohol consumption, which the CDC estimates to be about billion, much of that taken up by healthcare costs, arrests, and property damage. 

Not that this should discourage you from getting a drink or two with some co-workers. Just try not to let it get to three, four, five, six, or 11 drinks.