Underage Drinking Study: Wasteful and Biased

The largest taxpayer watchdog group in the US, Citizens Against Government Waste has condemned a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report intended by Congress to identify effective programs to reduce underage drinking. However, the citizens’ group charges that the report instead promotes an unproven agenda, violates the congressional mandate, and wastes $500,000 of taxpayer money.

An analysis by Citizens Against Government Waste concludes that:

  • “NAS failed to follow the intent of Congress, which was to have the panel review existing programs aimed at combating underage drinking and determine which are the most effective. Instead, NAS appointed a biased pane with preconceived notions that increasing taxes and restricting advertising on alcoholic beverages would reduce underage drinking
  • “NAS failed to divulge conflicts of interests among the panelists in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. A majority of the panelists have been associated with or received funding from anti-alcohol organizations.
  • “The panel’s actions have raised concerns among (at least 140) members of Congress.
  • “A May 2001 General Accounting Office report identified 23 federal agencies which spent a total of 71.1 million in fiscal 2000 on efforts to prevent underage drinking. The $500,000 spent on the NAS study was a waste of taxpayers dollars as it will do nothing to identify which of these efforts are successful.”

“When Congress commissions such a study, it is imperative that politics and bias be put aside. Taxpayer money should not be used to promote a political agenda through such studies. the NAS’s actions warrant a congressional investigation” said Tom Schatz, President of Citizens Against Government Waste.

“Underage Drinking Study: Wasteful and Biased” can be accessed at www.cagw.org.


  • Freydenlund, John E. Underage Drinking Study: Wasteful and Biased. - National Academy of Sciences Squanders $500,000 and Violates Federal Law. Washington, DC: Citizens Against Government Waste, 2003. Document can be accessed at www.cagw.org.