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December 21, 1940


Author Affiliations

Chicago. Coroner's Toxicologist, Cook County Coroner's Laboratory.

JAMA. 1940;115(25):2198-2199. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810510074027

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To the Editor:—  The recent paper on "The Effect of Alcohol on Driving Skill" by Newman and Fletcher (The Journal, November 9, p. 1600) presents conclusions which are at variance with the majority of scientific investigations on the effects of alcohol. Their report demonstrates the extreme confusion which may result from varying conceptions of the terms "drunk" and "intoxicated." Some writers have maintained that any demonstrable deviation from normal behavior produced by alcohol constitutes alcoholic intoxication. By such a rigid definition most persons may be considered intoxicated following exceedingly small amounts of alcohol such as are contained in a single cocktail or "highball." The opposite extreme is indicated by the criterion often employed by bartenders in determining whether or not a customer may legally be sold further quantities of liquor. This view is perhaps best illustrated by the old barroom quatrain:He is not drunk who from the floor Can

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