Statistics On Teen Drinking
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Posted On: February 25, 2003
February 25, 2003
© Terence T. Gorski, 2001
Teens Said to Drink a 5th of U.S.
By LINDSEY TANNER
The Associated Press
Summary: Underage drinkers account for
19.7 percent of the alcohol consumed in the United States each year and
represents $22.5 billion in alcohol sales. ``Excessive'' drinking by
adults - consumption of more than two drinks daily - amounted to 30.4
percent, or $34.4 billion in alcohol sales. These analyses show that it is
not in the alcohol industry's financial interest to voluntarily enact
strategies to reduce underage or adult excessive drinking.
CHICAGO (AP) - Underage drinkers
account for nearly 20 percent of the alcohol consumed in the United States
each year, a study says.
Attempting to correct botched statistics they released a year ago,
researchers from Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and
Substance Abuse analyzed three sets of data from 1999 and said underage
drinking amounted to 19.7 percent of alcohol consumed that year, or $22.5
The previous estimate - now discredited - was 25 percent.
``Excessive'' drinking by adults - consumption of
more than two drinks daily - amounted to 30.4 percent, or $34.4 billion,
the researchers said. Their definition of excessive drinking is similar to
``These analyses show that it is not in the alcohol
industry's financial interest to voluntarily enact strategies to reduce
underage or adult excessive drinking,'' the researchers said.
The Columbia center is an advocacy group led by Joseph Califano Jr., a
former U.S. secretary of health, education and welfare who has been an
outspoken critic of alcohol marketers.
The group issued a report last year saying that young people ages 12
through 20 consume 25 percent of the nation's alcohol, a figure based on
the 1998 National Household Survey of Drug Abuse. Critics questioned the
statistics, and Califano's group acknowledged it failed to adjust its
figures to reflect teens' percentage of the nation's population.
The new analysis appears in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical
It included data from the 1999 version of the household survey, which
involved more than 50,000 people aged 12 and older questioned at home. It
also included data from two surveys of youngsters 12 and older who were
questioned at school.
Representatives of the alcohol industry called the new study as faulty as
the old one, and questioned the researchers' definition of excessive adult
The government agency that conducts the household survey, the Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, has estimated the
percentage of alcohol consumed by youngsters at 11.4 percent.
Califano's figure is higher because he based it on different sources, and
his research seems sound, said Charles Curie, administrator of the agency.
``I give them credit that they wanted to clarify the figures,'' Curie
On the Net:
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse:
Distilled Spirits Council of the United States:
02/25/03 16:49 EST
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