Beer Week: D.C. number one in binge-drinking costs

WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- It’s D.C. Beer Week in the nation’s capital – which means the lines are winding around the block and the suds are flowing at various bars.

While most are out for a drink or two, a newly released study by the Centers for Disease Control shows that excessive alcohol consumption – five drinks for a man, four drinks for a woman – is breaking bodies as well as banks.

The study, based on 2006 numbers, ranks Washington D.C. number one in the state-by-state comparison in binge-drinking costs at more than $1,600 per person per year. Maryland is ranked 21 and Virginia is 27.

"I think DC is a stressful city and has a lot of stressed out people," says D.C. resident Trever Green. "I just love to drink."

The adverse social and financial effects of drinking too much too often include everything from increased health care costs to an uptick in criminal activity to reduced work productivity.

"You know, people usually go straight from work to happy hour and stay out until 10, and where I've lived in other places it's not like that," says Alicia Merritt.

In fact, D.C. ranked number one in excessive drinking leading to lower productivity on the job.

"On the one hand, it's a personal choice that people make, but I think it's pretty telling about the society here," says Evan Gildenblatt, another District resident. "Folks have to be a little more responsible about their drinking habits."

The study also points out who else pays a part of this staggering bill: local, state, and federal governments, which pick up 42-percent of the costs associated with excessive alcohol consumption.