New Report Puts $38 Billion Price Tag on Alcohol Abuse in California, Urges New Taxes

In a California Healthline Special Report, researchers and state officials discussed a new report detailing costs and calling for an increase in taxes on alcohol to help pay for them.

The Special Report includes comments from:

  • Assembly member Jim Beall (D-San Jose);
  • Michele Simon, research and policy director at the Marin Institute;
  • Edward Stringham, professor of economics at San Jose State University; and
  • Fried Wittman, research specialist with the Institute for the Study of Social Change at UC-Berkeley.

The Marin Institute report released last month — billed as the nation’s first comprehensive statewide report — sets an annual price tag for alcohol abuse at about $1,000 for each state resident. Alcohol-related illnesses account for 48% of the total costs. Other costs were associated with injuries, crime and traffic accidents.

“We tend to focus more on acute, dramatic disasters which is understandable,” Simon said. “But alcohol is something that’s happening every day, and yet it is catastrophic when we get to numbers like over 9,000 people a year and $38 billion a year. If that was happening in any other context, like plane crashes or earthquakes, I think we would probably be paying a little bit more attention,” Simon said (Rebillot, California Healthline, 8/8).

Related Topics

Audio Report Health Care Costs Insight