Half of alcohol consumed in U.S. by teens & people who drink too much
March 20 2003 by Erin Curry , Baptist Press

Half of alcohol consumed in U.S. by teens & people who drink too much | Friday, March 21, 2003

Friday, March 21, 2003

Half of alcohol consumed in U.S. by teens & people who drink too much

By Erin Curry Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A recent study concluded that underage drinkers and adult excessive drinkers are responsible for 50.1 percent of alcohol consumption and 48.9 percent of consumer expenditure on alcohol in the United States.

The report in The Journal of the American Medical Association was conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse and is being contested by the liquor industry.

Drinking habits of more than 200,000 people age 12 and older were studied for the report. The proportion of 12- to 20-year-olds who consume alcohol was estimated to be 50.0 percent, using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The proportion of adults age 21 or older that consume alcohol was estimated to be 52.8 percent, using data from the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System. The estimated total number of drinks consumed per month was 4.21 billion, and underage drinkers consumed 19.7 percent of the total.

The amount of excessive adult drinking (more than two drinks per day) was 30.4 percent. Consumer expenditure on alcohol in the United States in 1999 was $116.2 billion. Of that amount, $22.5 billion was attributed to underage drinking and $34.4 billion was attributed to adult excessive drinking.

The study also noted that underage drinking was beginning earlier, with the proportion of children who started drinking by the eighth grade increasing 33 percent from 1975 to 2001. The report said that a child who begins drinking before age 15 is four times as likely to become an alcoholic than someone who starts at 21 or later.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse's definition of "excessive drinking" has been questioned by the liquor industry, according to a Feb. 26 New York Times article. A liquor industry-lobbying group has vigorously attacked the study and accused its authors of "manipulating data for sensational headlines," the New York Times reported.

Barrett Duke, vice president for research with the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission said it is inconceivable that any responsible party would seek to profit from the lives of the nation's youth. The liquor industry has not demonstrated a commitment to protect youth from its deadly products, he said, but with their latest products - such as alcopops, fizzy soft-drink-like beverages which allow alcohol to be introduced into the bloodstream while bypassing the taste buds - expose a sinister campaign to raise-up another generation of alcoholics in order to keep their profits flowing.

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3/20/2003 11:00:00 PM by Erin Curry , Baptist Press | with 0 comments
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