During Prohibition in the United States, which took effect 93 years ago this week, many doctors boosted their practices by doling out medicinal alcohol prescriptions. Some went so far as to challenge the legality of dosage limits imposed by federal and state authorities.

An official medicinal alcohol prescription from the 1920s.

This week marks the 93rd anniversary of the ratification of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the related Volstead Act, which banned the manufacture, sale and transport of intoxicating beverages. Over the next 14 years, seasoned alcoholics and recreational dabblers alike famously flocked to speakeasies—but these illegal saloons weren’t the only places where liquor flowed during the 1920s. In fact, some Americans looked no further than their doctors, who could lawfully write prescriptions for whiskey, brandy and even beer that could be filled at drugstores nationwide. Read more..

 

 

PROHIBITION’S ROOTS

National prohibition on alcohol manufacturing, consumption and shipments started in 1920, a product of the 18th Amendment and federal legislation.

But its roots went back decades, emerging from a stew of religious activism, optimistic reform and the thrust to regulate big business — including banks, railroads and meat companies. By 1917, more than a dozen states had already drafted tough anti-alcohol laws in response to the perceived perils of alcohol: addiction, violence and the breakup of families. Read more…

 

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