Prescription Whiskey

Prescription Whiskey - Posted by Hammerstone's WhiskeyDisks™ makers of the world's best whiskey stones.

Prohibition began in 1920 with the ratification of the 18th Amendment and the related Volstead Act. These new laws banned the manufacture, sale and transportation of intoxicating beverages. Keep in mind that up to this point alcohol had been a widely used, readily available and relatively cheap remedy for thousands of years. Practitioners and doctors in ancient times treated everything from chronic illnesses to migraines with fermented beverages. They were also valued for their antiseptic and analgesic properties. During the American Civil War, field doctors used whiskey and other strong spirits to alleviate pain when they ran out of more powerful opiates.

During Prohibition doctors were allowed to continue prescribing alcohol for anemia, tuberculosis, pneumonia and high blood pressure, along with other common disorders. The new legislation required them to use special prescription pads issued by the U.S. Treasury Department and regulated how much liquor each patient could receive. Typically, adults were allotted 1 ounce every few hours after shelling out $3 (equal to about $40 today) to their practitioner. Records indicate that some physicians defied the AMA’s resolution and prescribed alcohol more frequently than before, quite possibly in an effort to profit from their privileged position. Along with doctors, members of the clergy also were allowed to procure and disseminate liquor under Prohibition, and some are thought to have taken similar advantage of their exemption.

Pictured above is a rare prohibition whiskey prescription form for medicinal whiskey. It guaranteed a man by the name of Paul Barnett one pint of legal liquor. This original white form was to be forwarded by the druggist to the Office of the Supervisor of Permits.


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