How much does excessive drinking cost New Hanover County taxpayers?

The state health department ran the numbers...

How much does excessive drinking cost New Hanover County taxpayers?

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -New Hanover County saw more than 1,000 ER visits for alcohol poisoning in one year and the excessive drinking is costing taxpayers millions.

The Department of Health and Human Services rolled out an interactive online dashboard Friday that provides alcohol related statistics on all 100 counties in North Carolina.

“The state and county level data in the dashboard provide a powerful tool for community coalitions and public health practitioners alike to educate North Carolinians,” said Susan Kansagra, M.D., Chief of the Chronic Disease and Injury Section. “The dashboard will help bring awareness to the impacts of excessive alcohol use in our state.”

Data from DHHS confirm New Hanover County saw 1,017 of the state’s 33,072 acute alcohol intoxication ER visits in 2017. Of the county’s total, 48 of those patients were under the legal drinking age.

The dashboard also notes alcohol was tied to a higher portion of deadly crashes in New Hanover County. Forty one percent of deadly New Hanover County crashes involved alcohol while the state average was 28 percent.

Between the cost of collisions, criminal justice expenses, health care costs and lost productivity, excessive alcohol consumption costs New Hanover County $150 million a year. Close to 40 percent of that total is paid by NC government entities.

Infographic from NCDHHS breaks down the community cost of excessive alcohol use.
Infographic from NCDHHS breaks down the community cost of excessive alcohol use. (NC DHHS)

Governor Roy Cooper recently designated April as Alcohol Awareness Month in North Carolina to shed light on the state’s battle against drugs and alcohol. According to his declaration, excessive drinking is the third leading cause of death in North Carolina and continues to trend upward.

To learn more and look at the numbers for other counties, visit the DHHS dashboard here.

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