Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (Its Goals)

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

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 Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse 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 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 U.S.

The goal of the program was to reduce high-risk and “binge drinking” among students. To do so it encouraged local communities and campuses to work together to create dry campuses. If they didn’t do that, they reduced the availability of alcoholic beverages.

Evaluation of Effectiveness

Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse
Henry Wechsler

Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse The program was carefully evaluated. The evaluation was led by one of its most enthusiastic supporters. That was Henry Wechsler of Harvard. Nevertheless, they found it to be completely ineffective.

Other projects of the Office of Alcohol and Other Drugs focus on reducing alcoholic beverage advertising. On encouraging parents to prohibit alcohol consumption. And on to raising taxes on alcoholic beverages.

Resources: Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse


  • Weitzman, E., et al. Reducing drinking and related harms in college: 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 to combat alcohol abuse on campus. Currents, 2005, 31(3), 9-10.
  • Nelson, T., et al. The effect of a campus-community environmental alcohol prevention initiative on student drinking and driving. Results from the “A Matter of Degree” program evaluation. Traff Inj Prev, 2005, 6(4), 223-330.