April 2, 2002

Incorrect Figures on Underage Drinking

To the Editor:

Shoddy research strikes again! In Adam Harrington's Viewpoints article, "Beware: Moral Police are Back," he cites a Columbia University Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse study that received more attention than it deserved. Indeed, shortly after the study's results were published a retraction came buried deep in newspapers. While the study initially reported, as Harrington cites, that underage drinkers consume 25 percent of all alcohol in the United States, the truth of the matter is that this subpopulation only consumes 11 percent (New York Times, March 3). Unfortunately, the "moral police" and the media latched onto the startling 25 percent figure and ignored the corrected 11 percent figure.

Richard Meldrum