Public policies concerning alcohol use vary widely. Societies that view alcohol use as an immoral act tend to be more punitive toward its use, whereas societies that view alcohol misuse as disordered behavior or a sign of an illness tend to react with policies that focus on public health solutions. Alcohol policies in the United States have developed in the midst of societal tensions between these two very different views of drinking, frequently resulting in contradictory public policies. In addition, many policies regarding alcohol sales, distribution, and use have been left to individual states, resulting in a lack of uniformity of policy within the United States. U.S. governmental funding of prevention and treatment services has been relatively small, contributing to a shortage of services, especially ...

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