A Noble Experiment? The Prohibition Act

The American Prohibition Act of 1920 outlawed the use, possession, transportation, manufacture and distribution of alcoholic beverages. But despite the wreckage that this generally good-intentioned law caused in the U.S., it was referred to by President Herbert Hoover and many other people of the time as the Noble Experiment. According to Nebraska Studies.ORG, the logic behind was that it was a noble idea to prevent the detrimental effects alcohol had on the family structure, but that outlawing it altogether was really just a botched experiment. Today we know this failure as the Prohibition. Study of this event is critical because the parallels that can be drawn between it and the current War on Drugs are astonishingly familiar.,Before the Prohibition era was born, its predecessor was a temperance movement. This movement actively discouraged public and private drunkenness or intoxication, but generally believed that it was acceptable to drink alcoholic beverages in moderation. But because so many people developed alcohol problems featuring undesirable behavior, the temperance movement eventually became the abstinence movement. Once this occurred it wasn’t long until the group gained popularity and pushed a bill that Woodrow Wilson vetoed to no avail. In 1920 congress passed the Volstead Act, effectively banning all alcoholic beverages.,Initially there appeared to be a reduction in alcohol consumption in the U.S… Bar, clubs, liquor stores and saloon were shut down. However, this only served to force the alcoholic beverage industry to operate underground, with organized crime quickly stepping in to lead the way. This resulted in significant battles and bloodshed between law enforcement officials and bootleggers. Albany.EDU reports that many crimes significantly increased after the passing of the Volstead Act:,”Arrests for drunk and disorderly conduct by 102%, arrests of drunken drivers by 81%, thefts and burglaries by 9%, homicides, assault and battery by 13%, number of federal convicts by 561%, and federal expenditures on penal institutions by 1000%.”,It wasn’t long before crime related to alcohol infected nearly every aspect of American life. It seemed that the citizens of this country would not be without their alcohol and that even the most severe consequences would not stop the manufacture, distribution and consumption of booze and moonshine. Many people have drawn striking similarities between the Prohibition and the War on Drugs in this regard. Despite severe consequences for drug related crime, the demand has remained stable or even increased for most types of drugs. Unfortunately, most of the hundreds of thousands of people in American prisons for drug related crimes are non-violent offenders.,It’s clear that the Prohibition didn’t work, and it’s likely that the War on Drugs won’t either. Government officials continually try to control the drug problem by targeting the actual substances themselves when they should be concentrating on targeting the demand for drugs. By education people about the risks associated with drug use and providing effective options for treatment, there is likely to be significantly less drug-related crime, and tax dollars used to fight non-violent petty drug offenders can be put to better use.,If you’re struggling with a drug problem and you don’t want to become a casualty of the War on Drugs, use the links below to get help right now.

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