9 Bizarre Effects of Prohibition

9 Bizarre Effects of Prohibition

When the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act were put into place, clearly someone had to see there would be more than a few unintended consequences. Some of the effects are well-documented, like the rise of organized crime, others are not. Here are a few of the odd and surprising effects of Prohibition. Photo Source



There Were More Pharmacists

Whiskey could still legally be prescribed by pharmacists to treat an array of medical issues. Medicinal alcohol sales increased by 400% from 1923 to 1931 and the amount of registered pharmacists also increased drastically. Photo Source



It Made Some People a Bit Overconfident

Some folks were so sure that alcohol lead to almost all crimes, that towns actually sold off their jails right before Prohibition went into effect. What ended up happening? Severe overcrowding and increased federal spending on prisons . . . or the exact opposite of what people thought would happen. Photo Source


More People Found God

Many could still acquire wine for religious purposes. Not only did more people start going to church and synagogues, but there was a jump in self-professed rabbis who could also get their hands on wine. Photo Source



It Killed a lot of People

Because bootleggers concocted unregulated liquor, a greater percentage ended up being tainted. Approximately 1,000 Americans died from drinking that liquor each year during Prohibition. Also, in an awful attempt to scare people from drinking any alcohol they could get their hands on, the U.S. government actually ordered some industrial alcohol to be poisoned. After all was said and done, it is estimated that around 10,000 people died from this poisoned alcohol. On top of all of this, the spike in organized crime added to the death toll as did people believing they could drink things like filtered antifreeze. Photo Source



Hospitals Wanted to Stay Nice and Clean

Hospitals could still order alcohol (most likely rubbing alcohol which some tried to consume during the time) for cleaning purposes. The amount these hospitals ordered increased dramatically. Photo Source



It Was Awesome For Grape Growers

Grape growers made out like bandits by selling grape concentrate, or “wine bricks,” to consumers. Many cleverly “cautioned” buyers by telling them not to dissolve the brick in water and put it in a dark place for awhile or it could turn into wine. During the first five years of Prohibition, California growers increased their land by about 700%. Photo Source


It Kick-Started Liquor’s Comeback

Before the onset of Prohibition, beer and spirits were on even playing fields with Americans spending about the same amount of their income on both. During Prohibition, distilled booze became king thanks to its higher alcohol content which meant less needed to be transported. Beer prices increased 700%. Photo Source



Cocktails Became More Popular Than Ever

Martinis and other cocktails flourished during Prohibition because they covered up the off-taste of not-so-great booze. Drinks like the Sidecar became popular and have stuck around since. Photo Source



It Gave Rise to “Booze Cruises”

People with enough money could basicallyy take cruises to nowhere. They would sail out to international waters to drink. The ships would just go around in circles and then return. Photo Source

Sources:
PBS
Wikipedia
NCBI
Cato
BuzzFeed
Prohibition Repeal
Slate
Cato
Mary Miley


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