Full text: The alcohol problem

that certain measures were very much more important 
than others in the production of the sum-total of 
Before passing on to discuss the methods of control, 
it will be well to describe briefly the cycle of changes 
observed in the consumption of alcohol before, during, 
and after the war, and its effects on sobriety. It is 
convenient to take as a standard a mean of the 1912 
and 1913 figures, and to record the data of subsequent 
years in terms of this standard, taken as 100. And 
firstly, what measure are we to take of the alcohol 
consumed ? The simplest one is to adopt the per 
capita consumption of alcohol, but this takes no account 
of the fact that spirits, in proportion to the alcohol 
they contain, are very much more intoxicating than 
beer. In 1912 and 1913 the average consumption in 
the United Kingdom was 27:3 gallons of beer and 
0:685 gallon of spirits. Roughly speaking, one may 
say that the quantity of beer mentioned contains five 
times more alcohol than the spirits, whilst the beer 
consumed in 1917 and 1918 contained four times more 
alcohol than the spirits. Yet it probably accounts for 
less than half of all the drunkenness. An enquiry was 
made by the Central Control Board during the war* 
on the relative importance of beer and spirits in the 
causation of drunkenness, and 1,505 persons (1,032 
males and 473 females) charged with drunkenness in 
London and fourteen other large cities in England were 
questioned. Intoxication was attributed to beer alone 
* Cf.‘ Alcohol: Its Action on the Human Organism.” 1923, p. 11 5,

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