‘The big education for me is that civilisation is fragile and can be destroyed in a heartbeat' - Jeremy Brade, former peacekeeper in Sarajevo.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Killer facts about Prohibition in the USA (1919 - 1933)

The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution allowed you to continue using alcohol, and also to make it for your own consumption. What was prohibited was its commercial manufacture and distribution.

As a result, cirrhosis death rates for men dropped by two-thirds. Admissions to state mental hospitals for alcoholic psychosis halved. The homicide rate, which had soared between 1900 and 1910, did not increase significantly during Prohibition.

Prohibition was ended
in order to raise taxes for the Federal Government. It was supported by labor unions and wealthy industrialists.

21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th Amendment, made unregulated imports of alcohol illegal.

During Prohibition, national alcohol consumption decreased by an estimated 30 - 50%.
After repeal, it increased. In 1989, alcohol was implicated in over 50% of homicides (and drugs in 10 - 20% of them). Alcohol was then also believed to be the cause of over 23,000 motor vehicle deaths - more than twice the number of drink-related homicides.

banned beer for 73 years (1915 - 1988). But for the first thirty years of its existence, Pakistan allowed the free sale and consumption of alcohol; restrictions were only introduced in 1977.


Anonymous said...

The homicide rate certainly did increase significantly during the Prohibition era, see for example here where you can see the initial surge after 1919 and the sharp decline from 1933.

Sackerson said...

Thanks for that, Anon. Looks like it needs more analysis - effects of absence at war, rates of immigration and assimilation, too busy trying to survive in the Depression etc - lots of potential causes here.

But I think modern crime stats show a link between alcohol consumption and violence.