In March 2013 the “Burden of Excessive Alcohol Use in Wisconsin Report” was released highlighting the economic burden excessive alcohol use has on local communities as well as the state. For Fond du Lac County, the costs are nearly $1,163 a year per person, or almost $4,700 for a family of four. According to the report, more than 40 percent of the costs of alcohol over-consumption are shouldered by taxpayers.
The costs are driven by Wisconsin having the highest binge drinking rate (25.6%) in the nation. Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks per occasion for men and four or more drinks for women. The state also has the highest intensity of binge drinking, with binge drinkers reporting an average maximum of nine drinks per occasion. Fond du Lac County has a 22% binge drinking rate.
Excessive alcohol use leads to drunk driving, lost productivity at work and health problems including unplanned pregnancies, falls, drownings and assaults. The monetary amount of excessive alcohol use is clear, however we cannot measure the economic impact of when alcohol destroys a family or causes the loss of a life.
Drug Free Communities of Fond du Lac County works to identify ways to reduce both underage drinking and binge drinking. The coalition has worked with law enforcement to implement OWI and party patrols as well as local community events to implement alcohol management practices.
The Burden of Excessive Alcohol Use in Wisconsin Report along with the Fond du Lac County data can be viewed at: http://uwphi.pophealth.wisc.edu/publications/other/burden-of-excessive-alcohol-use-in-wi.pdf