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June 28, 1985

The Alcohol Prescription

Author Affiliations

Distilled Spirits Council Washington, DC

JAMA. 1985;253(24):3549. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350480057009

To the Editor.—  The Oct 12 editorials in The Journal by Drs Lundberg1 and Niven2 reflect a disturbing trend of thought in medical and other circles. While these men offer some sound advice, such as the need for improved doctor-patient communication about alcohol and the need for improved medical training on alcohol, they fail in the attempt to write a prescription for society based only on a list of negative symptoms. They appear begrudgingly to accept alcohol only in zero-risk situations and appear unwilling to accept any concept that there is value in drinking customs that have endured and evolved since the birth of mankind.They both seem to fall into a trap created by the abundance of statistical estimates on the costs and frequency of tragedies associated with alcohol. They are quick to assume that beverages, not individuals, are responsible for all deaths and injuries that occur in the presence of those