In 2006, the economic costs of excessive drinking in the US were $223 billion. That’s about $1.90 per drink. Another way of looking at this is that the cost was almost $750 per person in the US.It is funny that Democrats are on a holy crusade against smoking (there is now a big black market in cigarettes) but they do not touch alcohol due to our experience with prohibition. Worse yet, both Democrats and republicans are on a holy crusade against recreational use of drugs. I guess that is proof that knowledge in one area is not transferable to other areas:
Almost three quarters of that sum is from lost productivity. An addition 11% is due to healthcare costs and 9% is due to criminal justice costs.
Underage drinking cost $27 billion. Binge drinking cost more than $170 billion. Drinking during pregnancy cost more than $5 billion. Alcohol-attributable crime cost more than $73 billion.
The cost to the government was more than $94 billion, or about $0.80 per alcoholic drink.
Here are links to Bryan Caplan on that subject: