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Excessive Drinking Costs Northwoods Counties MillionsSubmitted: 04/10/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


MERRILL - You probably know how about how much a can of your favorite beer costs.

But do you know how much the problem of excessive drinking costs your community?

A University of Wisconsin group put a dollar figure on the economic cost of excessive alcohol use in each county in the state.

The number factors in health care costs, lost productivity, court costs, and car crashes.

For example, Lincoln County's number is troubling.

Tanya Simonis, a Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist, often deals with alcohol problems at the North Central Health Care Merrill Center.

"$35.3 million. That was the cost of alcoholism within the community. When you average that out, it comes to about $1,200 per Lincoln County resident. That's what they pay, indirectly, for the problem of alcoholism," she says.

The economic cost of excessive drinking in each Northwoods county was estimated in the millions.

But the pain alcoholism puts on families often can't be measured with a number.

"That's an immense, immense effect. It effects their families both directly and indirectly," Simonis says. "They have two sets of rules. There are rules when the person, the alcoholic, is dry - not drinking - and then there's the rules when they're drinking. They tend to be very, very, very different."

Simonis and others at the nonprofit North Central Health Care help people and families work through these problems.

See the links below to learn more about North Central Health Care and to read the full study.

Related Weblinks:
Excessive Drinking Study
North Central Health Care

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