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Word Count: 481
Heroin LSD and marijuana are prohibited in the United States today in part on the ground that they are dangerous and in part on the ground that they serve no useful medical purpose The prohibition of the barbiturates the nonbarbiturate depressants and the minor tranquilizers despite their potential hazards is rarely suggested even by antidrug extremists their unquestioned importance as medicines stands in the way But what about alcohol Should it not be banned on the same grounds that heroin LSD and marijuana are prohibited Let us put aside the weighty arguments against alcohol prohibition and try to consider seriously for the moment the arguments in its favor Alcohol addiction is second only to nicotine addiction in incidence and prevalence in the United States today A conservative estimate is that five million Americans are alcoholics but figures of as high as seven to nine million alcoholics and problem drinkers are also cited 1 Alcohol addicts are unable to refrain from their drug even though they decide to want to and try to quit drinking alcohol those who succeed for a time remain in imminent danger of relapse To the millions of alcohol addicts must be added millions of spree drinkers who are not addicted but who get roaring drunk from time to time Alcohol prohibition if enacted and effectively enforced would keep these addicts and drunks away from their drug and it would prevent new cohorts of young people from becoming addicted or so it might be logically argued It is commonly supposed that alcohol addicts like narcotics addicts are weak willed and that it is their weakness of will that led them to become and to remain addicts The evidence is superficially plausible even though two people may drink alcohol or take barbiturates in precisely the same
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