The US Government Used to Poison Alcohol During Prohibition—It Killed Thousands of People

Many of us will enjoy alcohol during the holidays—and other days for that matter. It is something millions of adults find pleasure in and enjoy, for the most part, responsibly. But there was a time in this country, a dark time, when having a drink could get one arrested. In fact, the federal government even insisted that solvent makers spike the alcohol they distilled for industrial purposes with poison to reduce it’s use for intoxicating purposes.

Zealotry is always righteous and often lethal.

First, the government sought to merely make industrial booze taste so bad, that the alcohol was undrinkable. But, when that didn’t work, the government upped the ante and insisted that manufacturers poison their product. In New York alone, during the Christmas of 1926, 400 people died because of government mandated poisoning.

They died. Because they had a drink.

Government can do, and often does some very nasty things. Something to always keep in mind.

(From Slate)

The results were immediate, starting with that horrific holiday body count in the closing days of 1926. Public health officials responded with shock. “The government knows it is not stopping drinking by putting poison in alcohol,” New York City medical examiner Charles Norris said at a hastily organized press conference. “[Y]et it continues its poisoning processes, heedless of the fact that people determined to drink are daily absorbing that poison. Knowing this to be true, the United States government must be charged with the moral responsibility for the deaths that poisoned liquor causes, although it cannot be held legally responsible.”

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89 comments
Mike Byrd
Mike Byrd

Another case of an out of control gov't turning on its own people.

Jason Cabana
Jason Cabana

What about the cronies that are poisoning our water , air , food and land now?! C'mon crony capitalism instead of blaming government t for everything exposé your corperations

Thomas Walls
Thomas Walls

They Did The Same Thing To Weed,Remember ,Boycott Paraquat.

Dale Cauthen
Dale Cauthen

They sprayed marijuana with paraquat in the 1970's, knowing it wouldn't kill the plants but would cause lung damage to the smokers. We seriously need citizen oversight of this runaway government. This is nothing new. It has always over reached its constitutionally allocated powers. It's just gone off the scale in the past few years.

Greg Mouton
Greg Mouton

They still add poison to industrial use alcohol.

Elaine Wilhelm
Elaine Wilhelm

They are still at it, poisoning our water, skies and food!

George Parigian Jr.
George Parigian Jr.

Government is basically legalized crime, so yeah...this doesn't surprise me at all!

Sonny Kelley
Sonny Kelley

now they kill us with vaccines ,floride ,and trying to impose other unconstitutional laws and many other ways

Karen French Power
Karen French Power

Women who worked in the sweatshop clothing areas did not get their own pay. Their husbands came and picked up their pay in cash. The women were in a no win situation. That was a big force in the temperance movement. The men would drink up all the money, and then abuse their wives. So I would call that a sin!

Lori A Peterman
Lori A Peterman

Karen that is BS! They opposed it because they believed drinking was a sin. The government loved it because it expanded government interference into our lives. History gun violence before prohibition versus after. There were no gun laws until after. And never forget the Kennedy clan would still be poor hill billies without it.

Nicholas Sweeten
Nicholas Sweeten

So... the government acquired the illegal drug, poisoned it, then redistributed for consumption... in order to stop its consumption?!?! Thats probably the biggest whopper of a conspiracy theory I have heard since Roswell. By the way, alcohol already is a poison. Those who consume it dont respect their own bodies or health. Why should the government? Why should anyone?

Dana London
Dana London

They injected Blacks with syphillis and watched how they died, knowing they had a cure, they stole Native children from the reservations and abused them, they practiced Eugenics on the poor and destitute of Americas people, white, black red, they didn't car...so what makes you think that OUR GOVERNMENT wouldn't do this???

Edie Wiske
Edie Wiske

now they just poison our FOOD!!!!

Brian Moran
Brian Moran

It also was the nexus for the creation of the IRS,Booze taxes financed the fed until Prohibition,"un- intended consequence?'No gigantic power grab by the executive and the fed in 1919.

Against Crony Capitalism
Against Crony Capitalism

Actually the good stuff for the most part was illegal. One of the reasons Capone became a power was because his booze wasn't adulterated for the most part. - Even still the govt has no business poisoning its people in an effort to enforce what some consider "proper."

Ty Jack
Ty Jack

Killing off tax payers! Pension payers?! What a country?

Elliot Lee
Elliot Lee

They want our wellness, bend over is what they really mean

Sandy DeCamp
Sandy DeCamp

sounds about right. anything to get their point across, right or wrong.

John J Radford
John J Radford

You are an idiot if you trust any government. Complete idiot.

Tom Dobbins
Tom Dobbins

Obviously, THIS was the Tea Party's doing...right, James?

Harold Greenhalgh
Harold Greenhalgh

government poisoned something that no-one was supposed to be making......COME ON, MAN!!!

John Palmer
John Palmer

The scene was much different at the turn of the century. No regulation,no laws governing the making of alcohol and the problems with abuse were rampant.

John Palmer
John Palmer

Someone also commented that they did the same with pot.

Hans Arnheiter
Hans Arnheiter

They did not kill them the people selling gut rot did, please at lease get the story right

Randy Phinney
Randy Phinney

And the people in government responsible for the poisoning were not brought to justice.

David Grimesey
David Grimesey

and all this time, I thought it was doing the recepies wrong in the bathtubs and stills that caused it

Keith Champagne
Keith Champagne

Sounds like government policy gone terribly bad with single minded A-holes forcing their values/wishes on others with no respect for human life.

Karen French Power
Karen French Power

Many of the women's temperance group opposed alcohol because when women worked at factories, their wages were only paid to their husbands and then the men would drink up all the money. Things changed when women were able to collect their own wages

Don Ross
Don Ross

wonder how many people have died currently because the govt is doing this with other drugs. we'll never know perhaps

Jerry Mccombs
Jerry Mccombs

washington is full of drunks,maybe this could work again