WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Distilled Spirits Council today challenged a National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) report on teenage drinking, calling CASA’s analysis of government data “flat out wrong.” “Under CASA’s flawed interpretation, each American teenager and young adult who illegally drinks alcohol would have to consume 120 drinks per month, a massive error in fact and the wrong conclusion,” said DSC senior vice president Frank Coleman. A review of the 1998 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration data, upon which CASA based its report, shows that CASA made a major error in the interpreting the data. “As a result of this fundamental flaw in its methodology, CASA’s conclusions seriously misstated the facts by a factor of nearly 50%,” Coleman added. “This is dangerous to the very kids we are trying to help because it could lead them to believe their peers are drinking more and thus to emulate them.” This is not the first time that CASA has abused the facts in search of a sensational result, Coleman noted. Former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala sharply criticized CASA in 1994 for similarly misstating data. “We decry any under-21 alcohol consumption,” Coleman stated. “In fact, since 1980 the trend shows that underage drinking has declined significantly. “The Distilled Spirits industry has led the fight against underage drinking, spending over $120 million in the last ten years through the Century Council on real programs to help stop underage drinking,” Coleman concluded.