The Cost of Intoxication

It’s easy to forget the words ‘drink responsibly’ while enjoying a night out on the town – especially when you’re struggling to remember much else, like your name or where you live! To many American adults, this may sound familiar and somewhat amusing, but in fact, consuming large quantities of alcohol can be extremely dangerous and result in memory lapse, blackouts and loss of important personal possessions such as your wallet, phone, ID and house keys.

Laguna Treatment Center conducted a survey of 3,000 drinkers in the U.S. to investigate the cost they incur of lost personal possessions as a result of drinking too much alcohol. It was found that the average American drinker lost $192.55 in personal possessions over the past year – roughly the cost of 128 beers!*

When broken down by state, it was revealed that North Dakotan drinkers lost the most when drunk – to the value of $380. Could this have something to do with the fact that The Peace Garden State has the highest binge drinking statistics** in the country? Respondents in Maine, however, were the least drunk and disorderly with the average loss totaling $114.29 – the lowest across the U.S.

View these results broken down by state here in this interactive map of the US:

What Get Lost when Drinking?

The research also found that on a given night out drinkers to admit they are most likely to lose their

  • phone (32%)
  • keys (29%)
  • cash (17%)
  • jewelry (15%)
  • wallet (7%)

Broken down by gender, 37% of women admit their phone is most likely to go missing after a big night, followed by keys (31%), jewelry (16%), cash (13%) and wallet (3%). Men, however, say they are most likely to lose their keys (28%) – this was followed by their phone (26%), cash (22%), jewelry (12%) and wallet (12%).

Additionally, 4% of drinkers admit they have actually forgotten where they live after enjoying a night on the town, and 8% say they have lost items of sentimental value while drunk.

Other Impacts of Drunk Nights

What’s my name again? Approximately 7% of respondents say they have used social media to piece together what happened on a boozy night out.

Hangover guilt? One-quarter of respondents reported regret and shame when they woke up with a hangover.

More than 1 in 10 drinkers (14%) say they have lost friendships as a result of things that have happened while drunk, with men (22%) agreeing with this more so than women (7%).

True friendship? Encouragingly, 74% of respondents say they would hide a friend’s car keys if they were about to drive while intoxicated.

Lastly, 40% of drinkers believe it is their friend’s responsibility to look after them if they have had too much to drink. Men felt more strongly about this (47%) than women (33%).

How to Avoid Losing Your Shirt – or your Phone

“Warning labels are not put there for show – exercise caution when choosing to consume alcohol and ensure you are in a safe environment surrounded by people you trust,” said the medical director for Laguna Treatment Center. “Drinking too much can result in serious danger to your safety as you are more likely to misplace possessions containing your personal information, such as your phone or wallet. If someone’s drinking leads you to believe they may have an alcohol addiction, it is important to refer them to a treatment facility that offers emotional and clinical support that can lead them on the path to recovery.”

For more information on the long term impacts of drinking please take a look at our comprehensive guide to Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse.

Are you concerned about the amount you or you loved one is drinking? Concerned about the impact and long term costs associated with alcoholism? Take this quiz, based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), to help figure out if you or you loved one meet the criteria for a clinical problem with alcohol.

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