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Not the drunkest: NH maligned by federal agency

May 29. 2014 10:03PM

According to a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Granite Staters consumed almost twice as much alcohol per capita in 2012 than the national average — which calls into question either the sobriety or the honesty of the study’s authors.

The Boston Globe led its story on the study with these words: “There isn’t a drunker state in the country than New Hampshire....” And maybe there isn’t a more gullible newspaper in the country than The Globe, which should have editors who know that New Hampshire’s alcohol sales numbers are inflated by Bay Staters who buy our tax-free booze so they can drink more cheaply back home.

The NIAAA study divided each state’s alcohol sales by the number of residents older than 14. It assigned an average alcohol content figure to each beverage sold to come up with an estimate of how much pure alcohol each state consumed per person. New Hampshire’s figure was 4.65 gallons, almost exactly double the national average of 2.33.

But roughly half of the alcohol bought in New Hampshire is bought by out-of-staters, according to the state Liquor Commission. Lo and behold, the fine print of the study states that “these estimates in some States may be inflated by such factors as cross-border sales to buyers from neighboring States (e.g., in New Hampshire)....”

Thus a federal agency released a report that its authors knew created an inaccurate picture of alcohol consumption in New Hampshire. As a component of the National Institutes of Health, the NIAAA is funded by the U.S. taxpayers, who should demand their money back for this bunk study.

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