Pubdate: Wed, 21 Dec 2005
Source: Columbian, The (WA)
Copyright: 2005 The Columbian Publishing Co.
Author: Sandra S. Bennett


Few in society today know much about Prohibition other than tirades
like the Dec. 6 letter, "Prohibition didn't work," of Kirk Muse about
what a failure it was. Yes, there were speak-easies. Yes, there were
turf battles by rival gangs and liquor barons. But for American
society, it was an incredible social and health success.

Some of the national benefits, as compiled by E. Deets Pickett,
associate editor of American Prohibition Yearbook, were as follows:

* Wife beating and lack of family support decreased 82

* Drunkenness was down 55.3 percent.

* Assault was down 53.1 percent.

* Vagrancy decreased 52.85 percent.

* Disorderly conduct decreased 51.5 percent.

* Delinquency was down 50 percent.

* Cirrhosis deaths decreased 50 percent.

* Houses of correction had a four times reduction of

* Factory attendance and work output greatly increased.

The fact is that when something is legal, readily available and
inexpensive, many more indulge in it than would have done so otherwise.

During the 1950s there was no place, not even hospital rooms, where
people did not smoke. It was everywhere. Current sanctions against
tobacco, though not as stringent as Prohibition, have been extremely
successful in curbing use. And if we want to curb use of drugs like
meth we need stiffer sanctions, not fewer.

Sandra S. Bennett

La Center
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