Who Wants Alcohol Prevention?

“Alcohol abuse prevention” clearly attempts to prevent the abuse of alcohol. Common strategies include efforts to prevent alcohol consumption among underage persons, policies to reduce impaired and drunk driving, and treatment programs for alcohol-dependent persons.

On the other hand, “alcohol prevention” logically refers to any and all effort to prevent the production, distribution, sale and consumption of alcohol. Every effort to impose alcohol prevention on societies has failed. Prohibition was not only a failure but counterproductive in the United States (1920-1933) just as it has been in Russia, Finland, Iceland, Belgium, England, Norway, Austria, and elsewhere around the world. It has even failed in Islamic countries, where it is upheld by both strict religious and secular laws. Cross-cultural evidence strongly suggests that the only alcohol prevention or prohibition that seems to work is that which is taken on voluntarily by individuals.

So, the question remains. Who wants alcohol prevention? Clearly the Prohibition Party does (yes, it still exists). So does the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the Anti-Saloon League and the American Temperance League (now combined and known as the American Council on Alcohol Problems), the National Temperance and Prohibition Council, many churches and mosques, and apparently many in Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the Alcohol Policies Project of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and other groups. That’s not surprising. About one of every eight American supports prohibition when it is described but not called prohibition. That’s tens of millions of Americans who support alcohol prevention.

It’s clearly important to distinguish between alcohol prevention and alcohol abuse prevention.

References

  • Asbury, Herbert. The Great Illusion: An Informal History of Prohibition. New York: Greenwood Press, 1968 (originally published 1950 by Doubleday & Co.).
  • Barr, A. Drink: A Social History of America. New York: Carroll & Graf,1999.
  • Behr, E. Prohibition. New York: Arcade, 1996.
  • Clark, N. H. Deliver Us From Evil: An Interpretation of American Prohibition. New York: Norton, 1976.
  • Engelmann, Larry. Intemperance: The Lost War Against Liquor. New York: Free Press, 1979.
  • Everest, Allan S. Rum Across the Border. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1978.
  • Furnas, J. C. The Life and Times of the Late Demon Rum. G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1965.
  • Grant, Marcus, and Ritson, Bruce. Alcohol: The Prevention Debate. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1983.
  • Hanson, David J. Preventing Alcohol Abuse: Alcohol, Culture and Control. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1995, ch. 3.
  • Hanson, David J. “Wayne Bidwell Wheeler” American National Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. (Wayne Wheeler was the de facto leader of the Anti-Saloon League and was the single most powerful leader of the American temperance movement)
  • Kizilos, P. The man behind the act (Andrew J. Volstead). American History, 2001, 35(6), 50.
  • Kobler, John. Ardent Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1973.
  • Krout, John A. The Origins of Prohibition. New York: Knopf, 1925.
  • Nelli, Hubert S. American Syndicate Crime: A Legacy of Prohibition. In: Kyvig, David E. (Ed.) Law, Alcohol, and Order: Perspectives on National Prohibition. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985.
  • Rorabaugh, W. J. The Alcoholic Republic. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.
  • Sinclair, Andrew. Prohibition: The Era of Excess. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1962.
  • Tietsort, Francis J. (Ed.) Temperance - or Prohibition? New York: New York American, 1929.

See Also