The American Association for the Study and Cure of Inebriety was founded in New York City on November 29, 1870. The 14 doctors, trustees, and administrators of the six homes and asylums for inebriates known to exist convened at the YMCA and formed American Association for the Cure of Inebriety. The name was changed in 1888 to the American Association for the Study and Cure of Inebriety.
The doctors and others interested in the subject adopted the following set of principles on which to operate.
- Intemperance is a disease.
- It can be cured.
- Its major cause is a physical susceptibility to alcohol.
- This susceptibility may be either inherited or acquired.
- In excessive quantity, alcohol is a poison. It is this effect that causes inebriety.
- There is a great demand for treatment facilities.
- Every large city and every state should have at least one treatment facility.
- The law should treat intemperance as a disease. Inebriates should not be fined or jailed.
Quarterly Journal of Inebriety
In 1876, the Association began the Quarterly Journal of Inebriety. In 1907 it became the Journal of Inebriety. It published articles on a wide variety of topics. Not surprisingly, the Journal included ‘descriptions and reports of asylums and laws controlling them’ along with ads for treatment facilities. But most were scientific papers and reviews on the medical treatment of alcoholism. Over 90% of the articles were written by physicians.
The editor, Dr. T.D. Crothers, rejected any submission he considered to be disguised advertising. He also insisted that the Journal not take positions on the temperance and prohibition debates that were raging. Crothers served as editor for 38 years until its demise in 1914. By 1891, over 2,000 physicians subscribed to the Journal. In 1893, it published some of its major papers under the title The Disease of Inebriety and Its Treatment.
The Association generally used the term inebriety. But the terms alcoholism and dipsomania were also common. This is reflected in the titles of some of the books authored by members. Dipsomania and Its Control by Alexander Peddie. Alcoholism and Its Treatment by J.E. Usher, and The Disease of Inebriety by T.D. Crothers.
In 1903, the American Association for the Study and Cure of Inebriety passed a resolution asserting that it was the duty of legislatures to both build and encourage the construction of hospitals for the ‘detention and treatment of inebriates.’
The next year the Association merged with the American Medical Temperance Association to create the American Medical Society for the Study of Alcohol and Other Narcotics.
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