Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse

The American Medical Association (AMA) first passed a resolution supporting abstinence from alcohol even before National Prohibition was imposed in 1920 and continues to support it to this day.

Although the moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with better health and greater longevity than either abstinence or the abuse of alcohol, the AMA remains a temperance-oriented organization. This may be because so many physicians see the consequences of alcohol abuse, although the vast majority of people drink in moderation that's beneficial to their good health.

For whatever reason, the AMA promotes a temperance-oriented neo-prohibition agenda. It describes its Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse as "a national program office of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation." Not only did the temperance-oriented Robert Wood Johnson Foundation establish the AMA's office with an initial $5 million dollar grant but also it has poured many more millions of dollars into funding its activities.

The Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse established, funded and promotes the over ten million dollar "A Matter of Degree" program. This was a major campus and community partnership demonstration project at ten colleges and universities across the United States.

The goal of the program was to reduce high-risk and "binge drinking" among students by encouraging local communities and campus administrations to work together to create dry campuses or otherwise reduce the availability of alcoholic beverages. It was found to be completely ineffective.

Other projects of the Office of Alcohol and Other Drugs focus on reducing alcoholic beverage advertising, encouraging parents to prohibit alcohol consumption, and to raise taxes imposed on alcoholic beverages.

Readings about the Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse:

  • Weitzman, E.R., Nelson, T.H., Lee, H., and Wechsler, Henry. Reducing drinking and related harms in college: Evaluation of the "A Matter of Degree" program. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2004, 27(3), 187-196.
  • Wechsler, H., Weitzman, E., and Nelson, T. Battle of the binge: evaluating the "A Matter of Degree" program to combat alcohol abuse on campus. Currents, 2005, 31(3), 9-10.
  • Nelson, T., Weitzman, E., and Wechsler, H. The effect of a campus-community environmental alcohol prevention initiative on student drinking and driving: results from the "A Matter of Degree" program evaluation. Traffic Injury Prevention, 2005, 6(4), 223-330.

Filed Under: Prohibition | Health