Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (Its Goals)

The American Medical Association (AMA) formed the Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AOD).

Alcohol Abstinence

The AMA first passed a resolution supporting abstinence from alcohol even before National Prohibition was imposed in 1920. It continues to support it to this day.

Office of Alcohol and Other Drug AbuseModerate alcohol consumptionis associated with better health and ¬†longer life. That’s in comparison with either abstinence or the abuse of alcohol.

However, the AMA remains a temperance-oriented organization. This may be because so many doctors see the results of alcohol abuse. Of course, few people go to doctors because they’re so healthy.

Neo-prohibition Agenda

For whatever reason, the AMA promotes a temperance-oriented neo-prohibition agenda. It describes its AOD as “a national program office of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.”

The temperance-oriented Robert Wood Johnson Foundation establish the AMA’s office with an initial $5 million dollar grant. It also it has poured many more millions into funding its activities.

“A Matter of Degree” Program

The OAD set up, funded, and promotes the “A Matter of Degree” program. It had over ten million dollars. This was a major campus partnership project at ten colleges across the U.S.

The goal of the program was to reduce so-called “binge drinking” among students. To do so, it encouraged local campuses to create dry campuses. If they didn’t do succeed in that, they reduced access to alcohol.

Evaluation of Effectiveness

Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse
Henry Wechsler

The OAD program was carefully evaluated. That was led by one of its very strongest supporters. He was Henry Wechsler of Harvard. But they found it to be completely ineffective.

Other projects of the OAD focused on reducing alcohol ads. On encouraging parents to prohibit drinking. And on to raising taxes on alcohol.

Resources: Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse

Web Pages


    • Weitzman, E., et al. Evaluation of the “A Matter of Degree” program. Am J Preven Med, 2004, 27(3), 187-196.
    • Wechsler, H., et al. Battle of the binge: evaluating the “A Matter of Degree” program. Currents, 2005, 31(3), 9-10.
    • Nelson, T., et al. Results from the “A Matter of Degree” program evaluation. Traff Inj Prev, 2005, 6(4), 223-330.