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
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.
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