Statement by Frank Coleman, SVP, Distilled Spirits Council, in response to the study, “Beverage and brand-specific binge alcohol consumption among underage youth in the United States,” in the Journal of Substance Use:
David Jernigan and his agenda-driven surveys continue to make a mockery of true and honest scientific inquiry. According to government research, the vast majority of underage drinkers — 91.3% — do not purchase their own alcohol, but rather obtain it from parents and other legal-age adults. This fundamental fact makes this survey meaningless and a complete waste of $2,242,826 in taxpayer money.
Teens who drink alcohol consume whatever products they can get their hands on, either by taking it from their own home or getting it from an adult. It’s simple-minded to suggest that teens are seeking out expensive super premium spirits. If anything, this survey reflects the brand choices of adults of legal purchase age. Even Jernigan acknowledged that “the findings for any particular brand should be interpreted with caution” due to the “limited sample size of youth who consumed any particular brand.”
It should also be noted that the same day Jernigan issued this survey, the CDC released its most recent data showing that binge drinking and underage drinking rates among high school students have reached all-time lows. Jernigan’s wasteful and repetitive ‘studies’ have zero impact and divert scarce resources away from evidence-based programs to reduce underage drinking.