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Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2005 Dec 15;125(24):3482-5.

[The drinking problem--temperance after prohibition].

[Article in Norwegian]

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Nasjonalt medisinsk museum, Norsk Teknisk Museum, Kjelsåsveien 143, 0491 Oslo.


The alcohol issue had a prominent place in Norwegian politics and society in the first decades of the 20th century; teetotalers' organisations had a major role. Prohibition was the ultimate way of solving the alcohol problem. After the prohibition (1916-27), the teetotalers lost their hegemony. Anti-prohibition views became influential in the making of Norwegian alcohol policy. The post-prohibition years have been seen as at period of change in which a moralist and condemning attitude to alcohol and alcoholics were replaced by a more humane disease concept of alcoholism. This article challenges this view. After prohibition, to separate between use and abuse of alcohol was the main focus of Norwegian alcohol policy. Alcohol abuse and alcohol abusers became the main targets. Abuse of alcohol was first and foremost seen as a social category, as immoral behaviour. In the 1930s, a moralist and condemning attitude toward excessive drinking and drinkers was put forward, not replaced, in Norwegian alcohol policy. A concept of alcoholism as a disease had little or no impact in these years.

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