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There are few problems of greater importance than the place that should be accorded alcohol as a beverage, a food and a therapeutic agent respectively. At the outset the question arises: Is the use of alcohol for any or all of these purposes on the one hand desirable, useful and free from danger, or, on the other hand, undesirable or unnecessary or even injurious; and the answer must be shaped from a knowledge of the physiologic actions of the substance in question. Now, so far as is known, alcohol belongs in the group of physiologic agents known as sedatives or narcotics, such apparent stimulation as it gives rise to being due rather to paralysis of inhibition. Alcohol is an irritant of tissue and, in sufficient amount and concentration, a protoplasmic poison.
As a beverage alcohol is unnecessary, as this purpose can be at least as well fulfilled by a number
AS TO ALCOHOL. JAMA. 1902;XXXIX(23):1461–1462. doi:10.1001/jama.1902.02480490033005
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