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"If you cannot convince them, confuse them."---Harry S Truman


Washington -- Today the American Beverage Licensees (ABL) denounced a study from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University that redefined “excessive” drinking to include couples who share a bottle of wine over dinner. ABL condemned CASA for the latest in its series of ill-informed, agenda-driven, and poorly executed research studies on alcohol consumption in the United States. The study appears in this week’s JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Yesterday, CASA Vice President Susan Foster recklessly declared that “one half of the alcohol consumed in this country [consists of] underage and excessive adult drinking,” a claim that is at odds with reality. In order to arrive at this overblown statistic, CASA researchers defined an “excessive” adult drinker as anyone who consumed more than two drinks per day. CASA has made no attempt to square this with recent science from Harvard and Tulane showing that two drinks per day can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 30 percent.

“CASA is continuing to demonize responsible consumption with half-baked advocacy disguised as real research,” said ABL spokesperson Richard Berman. “Ordinary people who split a bottle of wine with dinner will be surprised to learn that they’re the ‘excessive’ drinkers in America that CASA is so worried about. These so-called scientists ought to be ashamed of themselves.”

In an editorial accompanying Foster’s study, JAMA notes that CASA’s invented standard for “excessive” drinking “differs from the drinking limits used to screen patients for alcohol disorders.” JAMA also chided Foster for neglecting to consider “the timing and patterns of drinking, variations in individual alcohol metabolism, and body mass” as well as whether or not “alcohol is consumed with food” when labeling consumers as “excessive” drinkers.  

Berman noted that last year, CASA President Joseph Califano was embarrassed by producing a similarly flawed study, which claimed that underage drinkers accounted for 25 percent of all alcohol consumption. The true figure was less than half CASA’s exaggerated number.  A subsequent headline from The New York Times read “Disturbing Finding on Young Drinkers Proves To Be Wrong.”

“Califano has been trying for years to reposition responsible adults as problem drinkers,” Berman added. “But yet again, the only ‘excessive’ part of this equation is CASA’s willingness to distort the truth for headlines and research grants.”

The American Beverage Licensees is a nationwide association of taverns, restaurants and package stores. 

"Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."---George Santayana

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