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hol with water and other fluids, contain alcoliol in different proportions. Among the mixtures are found many so-called fruit wines and artificial wines, especially also the cider used in the eastern provinces of Prussia, which is a mixture of, freshly pressed apple juice with water, sugar, and about 16 per cent of alcohol (by volume). In the eastern provinces people also drink ether and ether mixed with alcohol (so-called Hoffmann's drops).
The lightest beers contain less than 2 per cent, the heaviest (porter and ale) up to 6 per cent of alcohol; wine of grapes and home-made fruit wines produced by fermentation contain from 6 to 20 per cent; brandies and cordials, eau de cologne, mint spirits, and Carmelite spirits from 30 to 70 per cent of alcohol, while artificial fruit wines, such as apple, currant, gooseberry, and pear wines, and especially cider, contain from 4 to 16 per cent of alcohol, according as sugar is added or alcohol directly mixed in.
Alcohol is a compound of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and appears, according to the natural product from which it is derived, in different combinations as ethyl alcohol, amyl alcohol, propyl alcohol, etc. With the exception of ethyl alcoliol, all alcohols are commonly called fusel oil.
The alcohol in a beverage gives to it an animating and, under certain conditions, a desirable beneficial effect, but if present to excess its effects are injurious.
Taken to excess or habitually, alcohol injures (1) the health, (2) ethical conduct, (3) family life, (4) the economy of the family, and (5) the economy of the state.
1. Injuries to lealth.
Taken in small doses alcohol acts at first as a stimulant and puts the user into a pleasant mood. During the condition of exhilaration it often dispels his worries and sorrows and enables him momentarily to increase his labor power; but it would be an error to believe that mental or physical powers, as well as the ability to work and perform duties, could be increased definitely by habitual use of alcohol.
After every excitation of the nervous system by means of alcoholic drinks follows a condition of relaxation and exhaustion, just as it follows every other nervous excitation. The normal human being can without using stimulants work 'mentally and physically without interruption to a much higher limit than the one who resorts to stimulants. This has been demonstrated by the soldiers in the American and English armies, who abstain from stimulants entirely. It has further been proved by the example of athletes (bicyclists, oarsmen, gymnasts, and swimmers), and finally by Nansen upon his north pole expedition. Everyone can test the foregoing statement by careful observation of himself.
Taken in small doses, and not taken habitually, alcohol will, as a rule, not injure the health of adults. A dose which will not, as a rule, be injurious may be considered to be 30 cubic centimeters a day; that is, about as much as is contained in one liter of Bavarian beer, or in half a bottle of light wine, or in a wineglass of brandy.
Owing to the great differences in individual conditions of human life such a measure can not be considered absolutely valid for all. Young people, or those whose nervous system is not quite normally developed, and especially all who have been weakened by disease or injuries, may endanger their health severely by taking the quantity suggested in the foregoing paragraph. If, on the other hand, persons can stand for a limited period of time larger quantities of alcoholic beverages apparently without special injury, it must not be presumed that they can do so in the long run without injurious effect.
Only total abstinence in children and strict temperance and avoidance of excesses in adults and youths will prevent injuries to health.
He who neglects these precautions will experience, sooner or later, the exhaustion following upon excitation of the nervous system by the use of alcohol. The perceptive powers decrease, mental elasticity relaxes, physical and mental atigue takes place after only a moderate indulgence in alcoholic drink.
Habitual use of alcohol leads to dyspepsia, which manifests itself in want of appetite and in insuficient digestion of the food taken; frequently in irregularities of the bowels, constipation, or diarrhea. These disturbances are the more noticeable the less the drinker takes wholesome, solid food.
The desire to take food is diminished through the use of brandy and strong liquors sooner than through the use of other alcoholic beverages. Strong alcoholic liquors have been held to be economical, owing to their effect upon the quantity of food taken. But this is quite as erroneous as the assumption that alcoholic drinks promote digestion. They are not foods [Nahrungsmittel], as was formerly assumed, but almost exclusively means of stimulation and excitation.
This is true, also, of wine of grapes if taken habitually, even though it be perfectly pure, and all the more so the greater the quantity of alcohol it contains.
The so-called “Bavarian beer," it is true, has a small nutritive value, but it will nevertheless injure the health not only through the alcohol it contains, but also through the large quantities in which it is drunk. The great quantity of fluid taken orerfills the vascular system of the body; the heart, in order to overcome this superabundance, is obliged to work harder; a consequence of this is, that the muscles of the heart, like all hard-working muscles, increase in bulk. But side by side with muscular substanca fat is generated, and thus we see dereloped the so-called “beer heart." It is a heart which, despite its enlargement, is degenerated and weakened, not capable of performing the increased work demanded of it by the beer drinker, nor equal to other efforts for any protracted period; it fails to do its work, and the man dies of paralysis of the heart or heart failure. In Germany, especially in Bavaria, a large number of men die in consequence of this immoderate senseless beer drinking. The superfluous fluids must be secreted from the vascular system through the kidneys; this overburdens the kidneys and affects them also; in addition to the beer heart, an enlargement of tlie kidneys takes place at first, which, in the course of time, turns into shriveling and causes a decrease of the kidneys, which diminishes the capacity of the organ to perform its functions, and leads to further severe effects and long-protracted sickness, and even to death.
The formation of fat is essentially favored by beer drinking; corpulence appears, and a growth of fatty substance in the body takes place. In persons addicted to liquor and beer drinking, also in wine drinkers, a disease of the liver is developed, the so-called “cirrhosis,” which beginning with an enlargement of the liver later turns into shriveling through the growth of fibrous tissues.
The injurious effects of excessive or long-continued use of alcohol upon the health take very different forms in different individuals.
Healthy strong adults can apparently withstand the effects of alcoholic drinks over and above the permissible quantity for a certain time without injury to their health; but in most cases, even with vigorous constitutions, immoderation has its revenge by abbreviating the usual duration of life.
Habitual drinkers, according to experience, are an easy prey to contagious diseases (cholera, typhoid fever, etc.), also to pneumonia. Chronic diseases, especially tuberculosis, are aided in their destructive effects upon the body. All
persons afflicted with such ailments should abstain wholly from the use of alcoholic drinks, unless their physicians, in exceptional cases, prescribe them.
For children under 14 years, and for enfeebled persons, alcoholic drinks are very dangerous; they act like poison, and should therefore not be taken by them under any circumstances.
Since alcohol affects above all the nervous system, it is obvious that the development of nervous diseases, hypochondria, neurasthenia, is favored by longcontinued or immoderate use of alcoholic drinks, and that a special predisposition to these diseases is induced ; also that mental derangements, caused by immoderate use of alcohol, are not rare. According to reliable observations, one-fourth of the inmates of Prussian insane asylums in 1899 were notorious drinkers.
Only a few figures may be given here:
In 1999 alcoholism was proved (a) in public hospitals in 13,610 male patients and 776 female patients, or in a total of 14,386 patients; (b) in insane asylums in 6,259 males and 716 females, or in a total of 6,975 inmates.
Taking the two kinds of institutions together there were 19,869 males and 1,492 females, or a total of 21,361 persons suffering from the effects of alcohol. In 6,104 males and 410 females (total 6,514) alcoholism was assigned as the exclusive cause of the disorders.
Among the 6,975 inmates of insane asylums suffering from the consequences of alcoholism (9.6 per cent of all the inmates of such asylums) 5,388, or 77.3 per cent, were afflicted with strongly pronounced mental derangements. Of 1,987 drinkers admitted to these asylums 28.5 per cent had come into confiict with the law.
According to the same sources of information diseases caused by alcoholic indulgence have increased materially since 1886. There were admitted to asylums for the insane and to public hospitals, at the dates given, the following number of persons suffering from alcoholism (Alkoholisten):
While in the one year 1899, in Prussia alone, 21,361 “ alcoholists” were consigned to institutions of both kinds.
Not only drinkers themselves are in danger of becoming mentally diseased, but also their children, for as many as 20 per cent of the children of drinkers are weak-minded, idiotic, or epileptic.
2. Joral deterioration.
Upon immoderate use of alcoholic drinks follows intoxication. Intoxication, by befogging the senses and injuring judgment, reasoning, and observation, leads to imprudence, and through this to all kinds of follies, misdemeanors, transgressions, and crimes. Wanton tricks of young people degenerate into rougliness, and not infrequently lead to regrettable destruction of property (as tearing down business signs, pulling out doorbell ropes, etc.).
Experience shows that persons in a state of intoxication may do violence to public oflicials as well as to private persons, that their sense of shame is blunted, and that they may commit immoral assaults upon women and children. Many a student has made, while intoxicated, his first false step in sexual matters, from the consequences of which he suffers all through life, and often infects even his wife and children.
Intoxication often leads to quarrels, which, from mere wordy disputes, turn into blows, and subsequently lead to lamentable duels, to which many a young life falls a victim.
For all these reasons everyone should beware of the first intoxication; the first is mostly soon followed by a second, and in this way the round of days of intoxication is begun.
On these days occur more frequently than on other days mishaps during work in all, especially in dangerous, industries; also a disinclination to bodily as well as mental labor, consequences which are particularly noticeable after Sundays and holidays, and which give rise to the so-called “blue Monday."
What an important part the immoderate use of alcoholic drinks has in producing demoralization is shown by the number of drinkers committed to jail.
According to reliable statistics, in Prussia, in 49 penitentiaries and 32 jails for men, in 18 penitentiaries and jails for women, and in 21 houses of correction for both sexes, 13.9 per cent of the 30,041 male prisoners and 18.1 per cent of the 2,796 female prisoners were addicted to drink. Most of their criminal actions had, as evidence showed, been committed on Sunday or Monday.
3 and 4. Injuries to family life and to the economy of the family.
Poverty does not lead to the use of liquor, but liquor leads to poverty. The diligent laborer, the well-bred man, wishes for his comfort a clean dwelling, an orderly conducted household, a faithful spouse, and solicitous mother for bis children. To reach this end, i. e., a comfortable home, the wages earned by the man are of decisive importance, as is his moral example for the education of his children. In both directions it will prove to be a great detriment if a large portion of his wages is sacrificed for strong liquor and other alcoholic drinks and consumed in disorderly, wasteful living. These lamentable consequences, alas, are easily detected in the modern habits of life of a part of the population in numerous places and families.
It is easily proved that wage laborers too often spend as much as one-third of their well-earned wages on pay day in the liquor shops. Wives and children often follow the example of the father. Such a life undermines family happi-' ness, leads to disorder in the household economy, and not infrequently to complete collapse of the domestic housekeeping Disordered conditions of family life are increasing. The husband does not receive sufficient food, because his money has been wasted in liquor ; the wife loses the desire to attend to comestic order. The marriage tie is loosened, discord and strife break out, the liquor bottle is brought into the house, and the evil example of the parents endangers the education of the children and their whole future. To such a sad result another circumstance abundantly contributes, namely, that the unmarried laborer can find no other shelter for entertainment and edification than the saloon, the beer house, or some other retreat where he is obliged to pay for his stay by buying alcoholic beverages. Places of entertainment or recreation that do not require this “ alcoholic admission tax" are very rare in the German Empire.
Lodging accommodations for unmarried people are often so narrow and insufficient that relaxation and recreation from daily toil can not be had in bedrooms. llabituated to this mode of life, the workman enters into wedlock. No wonder that he soon looks up his old drink companions, spends his hard-earned money in brandy or beer, and thus the household (which has only been established after great trouble and often with borrowed money) is deprived of it. Bad domestic conditions lead the drinker, as experience shows, in many cases to committing punishable acts (against property, public order, etc.).
5. Injuries to the economy of the state.
Injuries to the health through immoderate use of alcohol, if it be not curbed, will diminish the defensive power of a country.
To that is added the financial damage to the state. In the German Empire there are spent every year about three thousand million marks (about $750,000,000) for alcoholic liquors. What injury, what an amount of grief and misery, is caused through this wasteful expenditure for superfluous, unhygienic, and demoralizing means of enjoyment! How much good, on the other hand, could be done by using these enormous means for individuals and the commonwealth.
If the injuries are extended over a large number of families, the moral and economic life of a town must suffer. That the taxing strength is diminished thereby, and the whole economy of the state is injured, goes without saying. This consideration demands urgently that the state should intercede with a firm hand to curb the immoderate use of alcohol. This is done most effectively by the method of prevention, if the great hygienic, moral, and economic injuries arising from the use of alcohol are pointed out to the young.
It will be especially a matter for teachers in elementary and secondary schools to take part in combating drunkenness, and to instruct their pupils (in a manner suitable to their comprehension) concerning the evil consequences of the immoderate use of alcohol, and solemnly and emphatically keep before their eyes the dangers lurking in alcoholic drinks.
REPORT ON TEMPERANCE INSTRUCTION IN WESTERN MASSACHU
[By G. T. FLETCHER, Agent of the Massachusetts State Board of Education.]
Required temperance instruction has brought the study of physiology into most of our schools. While some text-books and the plans of work may not be best adapted in all cases to meet existing conditions and to secure desired results, much good to children and to the community has been achieved.
The following circular letter was sent to superintendents of schools in western Massachusetts:
NORTHAMPTON, Jass., January 25, 190.4. To the Superintendent of Schools:
To what extent as to time and material and by what methods do individual teachers in your schools present physiology, hygiene, and temperance instruietion to pupils? An early reply will oblige, Yours, truly,
G. T. FLETCHER. A few complete statements from individuals, quite fully covering the ground of the questions, are given. Other replies are combined and condensed to indicate opinions and methods.
The subject is taught in all grades of the elementary schools and in connection with biology in the high school. It is taught for the last two months of the school year, and during these months a daily lesson is given. The actual length of the lesson depends on the age of the pupils. In the middle and upper grammar grades the lesson is usually from half an hour to forty minutes; in the primary and lower grades it is often not more than twenty minutes. We emphasize hygiene especially, and due emphasis is laid also on the effects of narcotics and alcohol. We do less in anatomy and also in physiology than was done some years ago. My own impression is that we are doing still more
a 67 Mass. Rep. (1902-3), 212-215.