Wisconsin has always been deemed the state that loves to drink beer and eat cheese, but most Wisconsinites consider that a stereotype rather than a reality.

Unfortunately, a recent report compiled by Health First Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Wisconsin Partnership Program reveals Wisconsin is the nation’s biggest binge drinking state.

“The Burden of Excessive Alcohol Use in Wisconsin” shows alcohol is one of the state’s biggest public health issues. The 158-page report outlines each contributing factor.

Health Issues

Wisconsin’s consumption of alcohol is 28 percent higher than the national average. The report categorized excessive alcohol consumption as four or more drinks per occasion for women and five or more drinks per occasion for men. These levels of consumption have led to:

  • 1,529 deaths
  • 5,751 motor vehicle crashes
  • 46,583 treatment admissions
  • 48,578 hospitalizations
  • 60,221 arrests

Economic Costs

The majority of the costs are not paid for by the people who buy and drink alcohol. Instead, costs are due to:

  • Lost productivity: $2.9 billion
  • Premature deaths: $2 billion
  • Health care costs: $749 million
  • Criminal justice services: $649 million
  • Motor vehicle crashes: $418 million
  • Other: $90 million
In total the annual economic cost of excessive alcohol use in Wisconsin is $6.8 BILLION.

You may wonder who exactly pays for this. Listed below are the major payers that are impacted:

  • Taxpayers: $2.9 billion
  • Drinkers and family members: $2.8 billion
  • Others in society (private health insurers, employers, and others): $1.1 billion

As a special bonus the report breaks the costs down for each county based on their level of consumption. The top five contenders with the highest binge drinkers and costs are:

County

Percent of Binge Drinkers

Economic Cost
Milwaukee County

15%

$1 billion
Dane County

6.9%

$654.8 million
Waukesha County

5.4%

$366.1 million
Brown County

4.7%

$318 million
Outagamie County

4%

$272.2 million

To see how much your residential county has spent on the consumption of alcohol download the report here.