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Report: Alcohol abuse takes $6.8 billion toll

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A new report says abuse of alcohol in Wisconsin costs the state an estimated $6.8 billion a year in health care, lost productivity, crime and premature death.

The study by the non-profit organization Health First Wisconsin says excessive drinking burdens the state's businesses, health care system, law enforcement and criminal justice systems. And taxpayers are picking up more than 40 percent of the price tag.

Public health advocates, law enforcement officials, medical professionals and others joined Health First Wisconsin in reporting its findings at news conferences in Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Wausau and La Crosse Tuesday.

The organization used a national study of the estimated economic cost of alcohol abuse and Wisconsin's proportion of binge drinkers to reach its findings.

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