The United States government poisoned people during Prohibition

Saurabh

Disclaimer: The author does not claim to be an expert in the field, but the article is based on credible sources.

Conspiracy theories are one of the most whacky and fascinating things you can encounter. Most of the time, these conspiracy theories do not have any base in reality and are only there for the entertainment purposes of most of the public. However, some of conspiracy theories are not just theories; they get confirmed years later for some reason. In this article, we will talk about one of the conspiracy theories which were confirmed by the government itself.

The confirmed conspiracy theory we are going to talk about in this article has its roots in the Prohibition era. The Prohibition Era started in 1920 when the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted. The Volstead Act, which prohibited the manufacturing, transportation, and sale of intoxicating liquors, became law with the ratification of the Constitution.

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Image for Representational purpose onlyPhoto by Boston Public Library on Unsplash

Despite the new legislation, it was difficult to enforce Prohibition. By the end of the 1920s, support for Prohibition had dwindled due to an increase in illicit liquor manufacturing and sale, the development of illegal drinking establishments, and an increase in gang violence and organized crime. Congress passed a resolution in early 1933 proposing a 21st Amendment to the Constitution that would abolish the 18th.

When the prohibition legislation failed to reduce drinking habits, the government attempted more harsh measures. In the mid-1920s, they decided to poison the country's illegal liquor supply by adding poisons to alcohol, including highly toxic methanol. It is estimated that around 10,000 individuals died as a result of the government's poisoning.

Dr. Charles Norris was appointed Chief Medical Examiner of New York City in 1918, following a long line of frequently inept political appointees. Disgusted by what he was watching, Norris made a public statement on December 28, 1926, claiming that -

“The government knows it is not stopping drinking by putting poison in alcohol. It knows what the bootleggers are doing with it and yet it continues its poisoning process, 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.”

Despite Norris' statement, public outrage, and the mounting mortality rate from poisoned booze, this policy was continued until Prohibition was lifted seven years later.

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Saurabh is a Computer Science & Engineering undergraduate student pursuing his writing interests. He enjoys researching current events/news as well as Evergreen Topics and has also been writing on Medium, Quora and Vocal.

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