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Neo-prohibitionism (also spelled neoprohibitionism and neo-Prohibitionism) is a current movement to attempt to stop consumption of alcohol in society through legislation and policies which further restrict the sale, possession, and marketing of alcohol in order to reduce average per capita consumption and change social norms to reduce its acceptability.

Use of the term

The term is usually used critically to describe groups or individuals, rather than by the groups or individuals themselves. For example, Candace Lightner, the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), eventually left the organization in anger and has since gone on to criticize it as neo-prohibitionist, stating that MADD "has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned … I didn't start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving".[1] Lightner was criticizing MADD's leaders who had called for the criminalization of all driving after drinking any amount of alcoholic beverage.

In Europe, the World Health Organization in 1992 launched a so-called Alcohol Action Plan that aimed at a continuous reduction of the per capita consumption; this attempt was criticized as "crypto-prohibitionism".[2]


The concept of neo-prohibitionism has been used and studied by scholars at George Mason University,[3] Ohio State University,[4] Brown University,[5][6] Indiana University,[7] the University of Houston,[8] the University of Western Ontario,[9] the University of California, San Diego,[10][11] Washington University in St. Louis,[12] the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,[13] Kean University.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Bresnahan, S. (2002). "MADD struggles to remain relevant." Washington Times, August 6.
  2. ^ Hasso Spode, WHO, in: Jack S. Blocker et al. (eds.), Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History, Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio 2003, vol. 2, pp. 688-691
  3. ^ George Mason University Institute for Humane Studies iLiberty project
  4. ^ Pamela E. Pennock and K. Austin Kerr, "In the Shadow of Prohibition: American Domestic Alcohol Policy Since 1933," Business History, Vol. 47, pp. 383-400 (2005)
  5. ^ Dwight Heath, Drinking Occasions: Comparative Perspectives on Alcoholl and Culture, Philadelphia: Brunner/Mazel (2000)
  6. ^ Dwight Heath, "The new temperance movement: Through the looking glass," Drugs and Society, Vol. 3, pp. 143-168 (1989)
  7. ^ Ruth C. Engs, Clean Living Movements: American Cycles of Heallth Reform (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2001)
  8. ^ a b Mark E. Lender and James K. Martin, Drinking in America: A History, New York: Free Press and London: Collier Macmillan, 1987
  9. ^ Jack S. Blocker, Alcohol, Reform and Society, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1979
  10. ^ Joseph R. Gusfield, "Alcohol Problems: An Interactionist View," in: Jean-Pierre von Wartburg, Pierre Magnenat, Richard Muller, and Sonja Wyss (eds.), Currents in Alcohol Research and the Prevention of Alcohol Problems - Proceedings of an International Symposium Held in Lausanne, Switzerland, November 7–9, 1983, Berne, Switzerland: Hans Huber Publishers, 1985., pp. 71-81
  11. ^ Joseph R. Gusfield, Contested Meanings: The Construction of Alcohol Problems, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1996
  12. ^ David J. Pittman, "The New Temperance Movement," pp. 775-790 in David J. Pittman and Helene Raskin White, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies, 1992
  13. ^ Dan E. Beauchamp, "Alcohol-Abuse Prevention Through Beverage and Environmental Regulation: Where We Have Been and Where We Are Going," in: Advances in Substance Abuse: Behavioral and Biological Research Supplement 1, Greenwich, Connecticut: JAI Press (Harold D. Holder ed.), 1987, pp. 53-63