The director of the N.Y.C. affiliate of the National Council on Alcoholism urges ""a national campaign to moderate the...

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WILL AMERICA SOBER UP?

The director of the N.Y.C. affiliate of the National Council on Alcoholism urges ""a national campaign to moderate the nation's drinking"" based, in contrast to Prohibition, on ""new knowledge rather than moral preaching."" The time is ripe, says Luks, because horror of alcoholism and health-consciousness are both way up. We also have a generally agreed definition of moderate drinking: no more than two drinks a day. And from tests his organization has conducted, Luks thinks that people could be induced to switch to dealcoholized beverages, just as they've switched to once-""disdained"" decaffeinated coffee--proof, for him, that a national campaign wouldn't subject politicians to ridicule. Other specific, major recommendations: boosting alcohol taxes; developing a sober-up pill; compulsory treatment for alcoholics; early identification of a predisposition to alcoholism. Luks recognizes that each is controversial to some degree--scientifically unproven, politically objectionable, or a potential violation of individual rights. He devotes a separate chapter mainly to the knotty question of coercive therapy: ""To what extent is the active alcoholic's refusal to willingly go for treatment a personal right that society should protect?"" To the extent that Bentham/Mills' utilitarianism dictates: when the alcoholic is causing no damage to society, but only to himself or herself. Others--like some of those Luks quotes--will also boggle at the uncertain results of alcoholism treatment. The last chapter roughs in a moderate-drinking campaign, with particulars on countering alcohol-industry opposition. A fresh, timely tack, at any rate, with some bits of pertinent news.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1983

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Beacon

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1983

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