BERN, SWITZERLAND – The “social cost” of alcohol abuse in Switzerland in 2010 was CHF4.2 billion according to a study published 20 March by the Swiss Public Health Office.
Switzerland has 6.7 million people over the age of 15: the cost to the economy comes to CHF632 per person over age 15, argues Bern.
The Swiss economy bears 80 percent of the cost, with businesses and the economy in general covering CHF3.4 billion a year. Companies suffer CHF1.7 billion in losses, mainly due to absences due to drinking or a reduced capacity to work.
The other CHf1.7 b covered by society as a whole is calculated as a loss of productivity due to early death or early retirement linked to alcohol consumption.
Costs linked directly to alcohol abuse, for example healthcare and expenses linked to crimes committed while under the influence, are 20 percent of the total bill, with healthcare costs alone accounting fo CHF613 million.
These are mainly injuries from accidents caused by drinking, neuropsychiatric problems such as weaning an alcoholic or behavioural problems. Five percent of the costs, CHF231m, are linked to criminal behavour, with half of that going to police intervention and the other half to legal costs and the expense of jailing drunks.