Page:Alcohol, a Dangerous and Unnecessary Medicine.djvu/22

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14
ALCOHOL AS A MEDICINE

declared the opinion to be erroneous that wine, beer or spirit was beneficial to health; that even in the most moderate doses, alcoholic drinks did no good. This, of course, dealt only with the beverage use of alcoholics. In 1847 a second declaration was originated, signed by over two thousand of the most eminent physicians and surgeons. This also referred only to liquor as a beverage. In 1871 a third declaration, signed by two hundred and sixty-nine of the leading members of the medical profession was published in the London Times.

This declaration was in part as follows:—

"As it is believed that the inconsiderate prescription of large quantities of alcoholic liquids by medical men for their patients has given rise, in many instances, to the formation of intemperate habits, the undersigned, while unable to abandon the use of alcohol in the treatment of certain cases of disease, are yet of opinion that no medical practitioner should prescribe it without a sense of grave responsibility.

"They are also of opinion that many people immensely exaggerate the value of alcohol as an article of diet, and they hold that every medical practitioner is bound to exert his utmost influence to inculcate habits of great moderation in the use of alcoholic liquids."

In the same year the American Medical Association passed a resolution that "alcohol should be classed with other powerful drugs, and when prescribed medically, it should be done with conscientious caution, and a sense of great responsibility."

The physicians of New York, Brooklyn and vicinity not long afterward published a declaration