New JAMA Article: Underage and Adult Excessive Drinking Accounts for Half of U.S. Alcohol Sales | CASAColumbia

New JAMA Article: Underage and Adult Excessive Drinking Accounts for Half of U.S. Alcohol Sales

New JAMA Article: Underage and Adult Excessive Drinking Accounts for Half of U.S. Alcohol Sales

NEW YORK, N.Y., February 25, 2003

Underage drinking and adult excessive drinking (the amount adults drink in excess of two drinks a day)1 accounts for 50.1% of the alcohol consumed in the U.S. and 49% of consumer expenditures for alcohol2 according to an article in the February 26 issue of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. The article, Alcohol Consumption and Expenditures for Underage Drinking and Adult Excessive Drinking was written by researchers at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA*) at Columbia University, led by Susan Foster, CASA Vice President and Director of Policy Research and Analysis.

The 10 month analysis reported in JAMA reveals that in 1999 (the most recent year for which necessary data was available) underage drinking amounted to 19.7% of alcohol consumed ($22.5 billion) and that adult excessive drinking amounted to 30.4% ($34.4 billion) – together, $56.9 billion of the total $116.2 billion spent on alcohol.3

"This JAMA article makes clear that alcohol is a premier drug of abuse in America," says Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA President and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, “and sales to children, underage drinkers, and alcohol abusers are a critical component of the alcohol industry's profits."

CASA research has consistently shown that alcohol is a major contributing factor in the three leading causes of teen death: accidents, homicide and suicide. Drinking during the teen years hikes the chances of alcoholism later in life. Adult excessive drinking is linked to serious health problems such as risk for liver disease, high blood pressure, stroke and some cancers as well as crime (including assault and rape), child abuse, accidents and family breakup.

On the release of the article, former U.S. Surgeons General Julius Richmond (President Carter), Antonia Novello (President George H. W. Bush) and David Satcher (President Clinton, President George W. Bush) and former First Lady Betty Ford joined CASA in a nationwide call for action by the alcohol industry, parents and the public health community. In a joint statement, the U.S. Surgeons General said: “We urge the alcohol industry to partner with the public health community to curb underage drinking and adult excessive drinking. Such a partnership would offer a way for the alcohol industry to deal with its inherent conflict of interest between its legal obligation to sell products and make money and the public health interest in curbing underage drinking and adult excessive drinking.” They called on the alcohol industry to:

  • Endow an independent foundation with no ties to the alcohol industry to work exclusively to curb underage drinking and adult excessive drinking
  • Include in its advertising and product labels clear warnings of the dangers of underage drinking and adult excessive drinking and the definition of moderate drinking as defined by Nutritional Guidelines of the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture – no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men
  • Include in product labels the nutritional health profile of the contents, including caloric content

"The alcohol industry has consistently underestimated the cost of underage and excessive drinking in the U.S. and this JAMA study gives the American people the facts for the first time,” said Mrs. Ford and Califano in their statement. “We hope, however, that the industry would prefer to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.” To this end, and to deal with the alcohol industry's inherent conflict of interest between public health and industry profits, Mrs. Ford and Califano called on the alcohol industry to provide $1 billion to endow a completely independent foundation.

Because parents have the greatest influence on their children, the Surgeons General urge parents to use their influence to encourage their children to stay alcohol free. They call on the public health community to mount aggressive education campaigns to prevent underage drinking, to warn the public of the dangers of underage and adult excessive drinking and to encourage families and communities to take actions to curb such drinking. CASA also urges the alcohol industry to cease advertising and marketing their products to young people.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University is the only national organization that brings together under one roof all the professional disciplines needed to study and combat all types of substance abuse as they affect all aspects of society. CASA's missions are to: inform Americans of the economic and social costs of substance abuse and its impact on their lives; assess what works in prevention, treatment and law enforcement; encourage every individual and institution to take responsibility to combat substance abuse and addiction; provide those on the front lines with the tools they need to succeed; and remove the stigma of substance abuse and replace shame and despair with hope.

With a staff of more than 70 professionals, CASA has demonstration projects in 60 sites in 32 cities and 21 states focused on children, families and schools, and has been testing the effectiveness of drug and alcohol treatment, monitoring 15,000 individuals and more than 200 programs and 5 drug courts in 26 states.

*The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University is neither affiliated with, nor sponsored by, the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (also known as "CASA") or any of its member organizations with the name of "CASA."

 


1 The nutritional guidelines of the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism define moderate drinking as no more than one drink a day for most women and two drinks a day for most men. The JAMA article used the two drink standard for both sexes as a more conservative measure for its calculation of adult excessive drinking.

2 The minor variation between the percent of alcohol consumed by underage and adult excessive drinkers (50.1%) and the percent amount spent on such drinking (49%) is attributable to the different types of alcohol consumed (beer, wine or distilled spirits.)

3 The minor variation between the percent of alcohol consumed by underage drinkers (19.7%) and adult excessive drinkers (30.4%) and the percent spent on such drinking (19.4% and 29.6% respectively) is also attributable to the different types of alcohol consumed (beer, wine or distilled spirits.)

Media

(212) 841.5260

communications@CASAColumbia.org

Marketing

Director of Marketing

(212) 841.5252

kmanning@CASAColumbia.org

Digital

Associate Director Digital Marketing & Communications

(212) 841.5225

aroley@CASAColumbia.org

Newsletter Additional Information

Newsletter Additional Information

Thank you for subscribing

This information will be used to better customize your experience and help inform future tools and features on our website.

Additonal Information
WHICH OF CASAColumbia's ISSUES INTEREST YOU?
Profession