James Kneale: Moderate drinking before the unit: Medicine and life assurance in Britain and the US c. 1860-1930
Posted on 03-09-2013
Moderate drinking ceased to be the main goal of the British temperance movement by the 1850s, but the idea of moderation continued to animate discussions here and elsewhere. This was partly the result of ongoing medical research and argument, but it may also have reflected the way these ideas travelled to unfamiliar places – including life assurance offices. A number of different strategies for separating moderate from excessive drinkers emerged from the dialogue between medicine and life assurance, from the teetotal insurance office that ended up giving policies to moderate drinkers to the use of a fixed daily limit by US firms in the early twentieth century. While these ideas of moderation seem to have disappeared into the background for much of the twentieth century, re-emerging as the ‘J-shaped’ curve of today,
these early developments anticipate many of the questions surrounding uses of the ‘unit’ in Britain today: was moderate drinking safe, or simply safer? How did moderation ‘work’ for rival experts, forms of knowledge and types of evidence? And what happened when limits were set by complex networks of actors with different goals?

Under Control?

Location: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

"Under Control? Alcohol and Drug Regulation, Past and Present"  conference was held at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 21-23rd June 2013. Under Control? was supported by the Alcohol Research UK; Bowling Green State University; the Alcohol and Drugs History Society, Brock University (Faculty of Applied Health Sciences); the Society for the Study…

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Lifeline Project & FEAD Read more

Welcome to Lifeline and FEAD (Film Exchange on Alcohol and Drugs). This project has been shaped by the wealth of experience, openness, and knowledge of the contributors. You are invited to comment on the clips, which are supported by footnotes to which you can add. FEAD is an ongoing Lifeline Project initiative.

Lifeline Project: In 1971 the Lifeline Project opened a day centre for drug users in Manchester. Since its foundation Lifeline has grown and developed, and now works in a diverse range of settings across the UK. Our purpose is to relieve poverty, sickness and distress among those persons affected by addiction to drugs of any kind, and to educate the public on matters relating to drug misuse.