Alcohol is a $100 billion business in America, but it costs much more than that to repair the damages of alcohol abuse.
Some experts estimate that cost at more than $175 billion this year, but that's a conservative guess — and it doesn't include a lot of hidden costs:
It includes the cost of imprisoning those who commit crimes under the influence of alcohol, for example, but not the cost of police departments to catch them or the justice system to weigh their guilt and sentence them.
It includes the cost of lost productivity to individuals, but doesn't attempt to estimate how much that might cost employers or businesses. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates businesses lose $100 billion a year due to substance abuse.
It includes the cost of educating children with fetal alcohol syndrome/effect, but not the children with identical symptoms whose mothers wouldn't admit to drinking while pregnant.