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AL the Inconspicuous

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US Government Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition
« on: February 28, 2010, 06:54:20 AM »

From Slashdot -- US Government Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition --

Quote
Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist Deborah Blum has an article in Slate about the US government's mostly forgotten policy in the 1920s and 1930s of poisoning industrial alcohols manufactured in the US to scare people into giving up illicit drinking during Prohibition.  Known as the "chemist's war of Prohibition", the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, killed at least 10,000 people between 1926 and 1933.  The story begins with ratification of the 18th Amendment in 1919, which banned sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the US.

By the mid-1920s, when the government saw that its "noble experiment" was in danger of failing, it decided that the problem was that readily available methyl (industrial) alcohol -- itself a poison -- didn't taste nasty enough.  The government put its chemists to work designing ever more unpalatable toxins - adding such chemicals as kerosene, brucine (a plant alkaloid closely related to strychnine), gasoline, benzene, cadmium, iodine, zinc, mercury salts, nicotine, ether, formaldehyde, chloroform, camphor, carbolic acid, quinine, and acetone.

In 1926, in New York City, 1,200 were sickened by poisonous alcohol; 400 died.  The following year, deaths climbed to 700.  These numbers were repeated in cities around the country as public-health officials nationwide joined in the angry clamor to stop the poisoning program.  But an official sense of higher purpose kept it in place, while lawmakers opposed to the plan were accused of being in cahoots with criminals and bootleggers.  The chief medical examiner of New York City during the 1920s, one of the poisoning program's most outspoken opponents, liked to call it "our national experiment in extermination".


This is the foremost real reason why "drugs are bad" for you, and ever-more egg on the face of Americans who think their poor doesn't stink and their government wouldn't kill their own citizens for sufficient gain (i.e. USS Liberty, WTC 93, OKC, 9/11, etc, etc, etc).  :x

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TimeLady Victorious

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Re: US Government Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2010, 01:34:08 PM »

You've never fucking heard of denatured alcohol before?

Weren't the real criminals those taking the denatured alcohol to make booze that legitimately poisoned people?
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ENGAGE RIDLEY MOTHER FUCKER

AL the Inconspicuous

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Re: US Government Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2010, 02:21:58 PM »

They wouldn't be able to do that if it wasn't for the prohibition.

I agree the subject of this thread ain't exactly news, but it's yet another case of watching how people react to admitted government tyranny - "government was bad back then, but now it's become good".  Disgusting!  :x
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TimeLady Victorious

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Re: US Government Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2010, 02:29:39 PM »

Except no one was forcing them to put literal poison from bottles marked POISON in their alcohol.
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ENGAGE RIDLEY MOTHER FUCKER

AL the Inconspicuous

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Re: US Government Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2010, 03:08:31 PM »

Government claimed all alcohol was poison back then, like with drugs today.
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TimeLady Victorious

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Re: US Government Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2010, 12:24:39 AM »

Government claimed all alcohol was poison back then, like with drugs today.

Denatured alcohol is literal poison, though.
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Bill Brasky

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Re: US Government Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2010, 12:43:31 AM »

Government claimed all alcohol was poison back then, like with drugs today.

Denatured alcohol is literal poison, though.

No different than people selling bunk drugs.  If people will buy it, they'll sell it.  Greed is a great motivator.  To be fair, a lot of people didn't have the education to know the harmful effects of denatured alcohol.  They figured it was just a harsher buzz, and would mix it with distilled spirits as a filler.  Or sometimes they'd just sell it outright, or mix it with flavorings in bathtubs - hence the name bathtub gin.  It all depended on the person, some knew and didn't care. 

It doesn't kill you outright, you have to be exposed to it often.  It still gets you drunk.  All alcohol is a poison, BTW. 

Denatured alcohol is actually ethanol (drinkable) with additives that make it undrinkable.  Thats so you can use it in industrial applications without being taxed, because without the additives people would drink the pure ethanol for cheap. 
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