Approved by Education Department October 14, 1945, as suitable for use in Victorian State Schools. .
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INDEPENDENT ORDER OF RECHAB1TES Victoria District, No. 82
Registered Office: 518 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, Victoria
Refistered *t tho G.P.O., Melbourne for transmission by Post ts a Book.
NWholly set up »nd printed in Austr&li* by Jenkin. Buxton (r Co. Pty. Ltd., 497-9 Collins Street.
This book is written primarily for children of twelve to fourteen years of age. Its object is to place simply and clearly before them the dangers of intemperance, particularly in respect of alcoholic drinks. The facts lead to one indisputable conclusion, namely, that the safest course of action for young people is to abstain from the use of alcoholic liquors. As these young people attain to years of discretion and judgment, it is hoped that the principles enumerated herein will be taken into consideration by them in formulating their individual codes of behaviour.
In such a publication as this, there is insufficient space to describe in detail the physiology of the human body, nor is it necessary. It is presumed that the children who read this book already have a general knowledge of this subject, for it is set down in the Victorian Education Department’s Course of Study for pupils of Grades VI-V1II.
The material in this book has been compiled from authoritative sources by an educationist of repute, and it is approved by the Education Department as suitable for study in connexion with the I.O.R.’s Temperance Physiology Examination.
October 29, 1945. Independent Order of Rechabites
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface ............ •
Alcohol and Health.......
The Cost of Alcohol.......
Traffic and Crime.......
Individual, Home and Nation
THE MEANING OF TEMPERANCE.—
Whenever we meet a new word for the first time, we want to know what it means. Have you come across the word “Temperance" before? No. Well, let us have a look at the dictionary. Mine gives several meanings. Here they are—“Being moderate in action, speech, habits, etc.; self-control; being moderate in the use of alcoholic drinks; the principle and practice of not using alcoholic drinks at all.” What does yours say?
What a strange place the world would be if everyone did just what he or she wanted to do without thinking about the other person! Just suppose that the milk-man didn’t leave you any milk, the baker was too tired to bake any bread, the garbage man wanted to go fishing, the butcher went on strike, and your father didn’t go to work any more!
So you see that, unless everyone plays his part and does his job, we could not live together as we do. Sometimes we feel that we should like a holiday, but if all of us were to please ourselves about what we did and when we did it, we wouldn’t get on very well together. To be good citizens, we must be strong-willed enough to do what we
believe is right, to think of others, and to say "No” when we are tempted to do what we know and feel is wrong. This helps to develop our strength of character, and it is this strength of character that makes good citizens. Good citizens have self-control; they are temperate.
Intemperance, of course, means "not temperate.” It leads to weakness of character, poor citizenship, and makes our world all topsy-turvy.
We must be temperate in all things. If we want to be healthy, we must have exercise. But it must be a suitable kind of exercise; we must eat the right kinds and the right quantities of food; and we must drink the best drinks and in the right quantities.
Exercise aids the growth and development of our bodies. It strengthens the muscles, including those of the heart; it develops the brain, deepens and increases the rate of breathing; and helps the skin to perspire. Without it, we do not get the full benefit from our food, for our digestive system is not kept in good working order.
Each day we get a certain amount of physical exercise. We walk, we may run to catch a train, to open a gate, or to catch a horse. People such as farmers, bricklayers and gardeners whose daily work involves
exercise in the open air have better opportunities for healthy exercise than others such as clerks, dress-makers and factory employees who work in-doors. The best forms of exercise are those that are taken in the open air and demand an effort from every part of the body.
Any soreness of the muscles, breathlessness or pounding of the heart that lasts after a few minutes’ rest, is a sign that the exercise has been too strenuous. Such exercise may often do more harm than good, and may cause permanent harm to the heart or to the lungs.
It is better to take exercise in small, regular doses rather than occasionally and in large doses. When exercise is taken properly, that is, when we take it in small,
regular doses, we act in a temperate way. When we do things irregularly and too
strenuously, we are acting intemperately. When we use self-control we avoid being intemperate; and, to be thoroughly healthy, we must be temperate in the kind and amount of exercise we take.
KINDS OF FOOD.—Let us see what are the right kinds and quantities of food that
we should eat. Before we can do this, it is
necessary that we should know something about our bodies and what they require in order to keep them healthy.
Our bodies consist of millions and millions of little cells that can be seen only under a microscope. These cells consist of protoplasm. Without it, there can be no life. As we grow, the cells in our body multiply, and so the protoplasm must increase too. This protoplasm is continually breaking down; and, unless it is built up again and increased by eating suitable foods, our bodies will not grow. We become unhealthy; and, in time, die.
The most important BODY-BUILDING FOODS are meat, fish, milk, cheese and eggs. Peas, lentils and beans also contain a substance called protein that is a necessary part of all body-building foods.
Our bodies must have HEAT. External heat obtained by sitting in the sunshine or in front of a fire is not enough. Nor are hot drinks. The normal temperature of the body is about 98.4 degrees, and any great lowering of this is followed by death. Even in hot countries a person may starve to death because of the lack of this bodily heat when a supply of suitable food cannot be obtained. There must be an internal heat. This can be obtained only by eating foods that produce energy. The main energy-producing substances are fats and carbohydrates. The necessary fats are obtained in milk, cream, butter, suet, lard, dripping and olive oil. Carbo-
hydrates occur in sugar, cereals, bread and starchy foods such as potatoes, rice, root vegetables and oatmeal.
Our bodies also need SALTS and MINERAL SUBSTANCES to build up and repair bones, blood, tissues, and aid in digesting food. These are obtained in milk, cheese, vegetables and fruit.
VITAMINS are substances essential to the growth and development of living tissues. They may be of several kinds, and are present in extremely small quantities in various foods. The main kinds are called vitamins A. B. C and D. They are present in the following foods: Vitamin A — Cod liver oil, milk, butter, cheese, yolk of egg, green vegetables, lettuce, water cress, beef and mutton fat, suet, liver and carrots.
Vitamin B — Peas, beans, lentils, yeast, milk, yolk of egg, liver, kidney, brains, cabbage, lettuce and water cress.
Vitamin C—Green leaves and fresh fruits, especially lettuce, cabbage, oranges, tomatoes, lemons, potatoes, swede turnips and water cress.
Vitamin D—Cod liver oil, oily fishes, yolk of egg, milk, butter and animal fats.
WATER forms about 60 per cent, of every human body. Every part of our bodies contains water. Without it, we can-
not live. Water is a food. It is continually escaping from the body through breathing, by perspiration, and in other ways. If it is not replaced by more water, our body becomes dry, and we say that we feel thirsty. If a plant is not watered, it will wither and die. In similar circumstances, the human body will also die. Under normal conditions, about three to five pints of water are required daily.
This does not mean that we need to drink this amount daily. Water is present in all foods, and in fruits and vegetables there is a considerable quantity. Lettuce contains 96 per cent, water, rhubarb has 95 per cent., oranges 86 per cent., and potatoes 75 per cent. By eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, we actually obtain a great deal of water.
Thus, if we want to remain healthy, we must exercise self-control by having a well-balanced diet. If we are not temperate, if we do not exercise self-control, we cannot expect to remain healthy.
There is as much danger in eating and drinking too much as there is in eating and drinking too little. Here is a story to illustrate the danger of drinking too much— of being intemperate.
A wounded airman, who was forced down in the Western Desert, found that his emer-
gency rations were insufficient to last him until help arrived. He became very hungry and thirsty, and his wounds became septic. When he was found, he was delirious, and kept on calling for water. Had his rescuers allowed him to drink all that he wanted to, he would probably have died. In this case, his life depended on the temperate use of food and drink. Fortunately, the doctors knew what quantities of food and water to give him, and they cured his wounds and saved his life. They knew that water was the best drink, and how much to give him.
Good food assists the growth and repair of the body tissues, and supplies the material for the production of animal heat and energy. If the food we eat is not well chosen, or if it is insufficient in quantity, our bodies cannot be as healthy as they should be. This leads to sickness of various kinds, and may result in physical deformities that can never be remedied.
This is very important in the case of young children whose bodies are growing. A young plant in the garden needs regular watering, and the soil in which it is growing must contain the correct amounts of the necessary plant foods. It is just the same with children. Their food must assist in repairing bodily waste, maintaining bodily heat, and in supplying energy so that the muscles can do their work.
Of all foods, milk is the one that does all these things. That is why young children should have a regular and plentiful supply of fresh milk to drink.
Milk contains proteins, fats, carbohydrates, all the important vitamins, and many important minerals such as calcium and phosphorus in an almost perfect balance. For this reason, milk is often called “Nature’s perfect food.” No other drink can take its place. It is the most valuable single food we know of for growth and health. What a wonderful thing it would be if all children could have at least one pint of fresh milk daily!
There are other drinks, such as tea, coffee, cocoa, fruit juices and mineral watery that some of us may like better than warer or milk, but they all consist mainly of water. Tea and coffee do not contain any valuable food that provides the body with power and energy. They have the effect of stimulating the brain and the muscles, and of spurring us on to added effort. If they are taken too frequently, harm may even result. When the body is tired, it needs rest and food, not a goad.
CHAPTER 2. —ALCOHOL.
There are other drinks such as beer, wine and spirits that consist mainly of water, but which contain also a liquid known as alcohol.
THE STORY OF ALCOHOL.—Alcohol was first discovered in 1066 by an Arabian alchemist, Albu Casa. In one of his experiments he heated some wine, and applied a light to the vapour that came from it. To his surprise, the vapour that first came from the wine caught fire, but the remaining vapour would not ignite. From this, he knew that the vapour must consist of two different gases, and that the wine must consist of two different liquids. On separating these, he found that they were water, and a new liquid which he called “alcohol.” In Arabic, “al” means “the,” and “cohol” means “light.”
Alcohol is the liquid in beer, wine and spirits that causes people to become drunk or intoxicated. The word "intoxicated” comes from the Greek language. In those far-off days, men fought with bows and arrows. They found that their arrows would become very deadly if they dipped them in a certain substance. The Greek name for these arrows was “toxikon,” and it is from this word that our present-day words such as toxin, toxic, toxemia and intoxicating are derived. If
you look them up in your dictionary, you will find that they all refer, in some form or other, to “poison.”
THE MANUFACTURE OF ALCOHOL.
—Alcohol is a poisonous liquid found in beer, wine and spirits. It is possible to make it in the chemical laboratory, but this is too expensive a method for practical use. Therefore, most of the alcohol that we use is prepared in another way—by the alcoholic fermentation of decaying vegetable materials containing sugars and starches.
Although the ancient Egyptians used an alcoholic drink called beer that was made from some kind of sprouted grain, and the Bible contains many stories about the making and drinking of wine, it was not until the nineteenth century that the cause of fermentation was discovered.
The fermentation that occurs when milk turns sour, and when a fungus forms on top of a jar of jam that has been exposed to the air, is caused by very small plants—so small that we cannot see them without a microscope—getting into the milk or the jam. During the last century, Louis Pasteur, one of the greatest of all scientists, found that, if a family of these small plants called “yeast” was allowed to live and multiply in a warm liquid containing sugar, it made the sugar ferment, with the result that alcohol was
produced. If the liquid was first heated enough to kill these yeast plants, and then kept in such a state that no others could get in, it would not ferment.
Thus, fermentation is caused by the action of yeast cells on the sugar in a warm liquid. Most of the sugar is changed into alcohol, and a gas known as carbon dioxide is given off. This bubbles up through the liquid, and escapes into the air, thus causing the appearance of boiling.
WINES.—Wine is made by the fermentation of the sugar in the juice of grapes. An analysis of the composition of pure grape juice with port wine will show that most of the sugar content and food value has been lost in the process of fermentation.
Grape Juice % Pure Wine %
Heat Food (Sugar)
Acid, Gum, etc.
BEER.—The alcohol in beer is obtained by the fermentation of malt-sugar, which is produced in the process of brewing by the action of a ferment on the starch in a barley grain.
When all the sugar in a liquid has been broken down into alcohol, the yeast plants usually die, for then there is no food for them to live on. Thus, fermentation comes to an end. That is why light wines such as claret, hock, burgundy and champagne contain only as much alcohol as can be made from the sugar contained in the liquid when fermentation began. If more sugars are added to the liquid, a higher alcoholic content is obtained. The yeasts die and fermentation ceases, however, when the amount of alcohol increases. Some of them may continue to work until the alcohol reaches as much as 1 5 per cent, of the liquid, but most of them are stopped before this.
SPIRITS. — About seven hundred years ago, it was found that concentrations of alcohol could be obtained by the process of distillation. If a mixture of alcohol and wrater is heated, the alcohol is driven off as a vapour or gas before the water evaporates. If this vapour is collected and cooled, or distilled, the alcohol forms into drops of liquid. By this means, it is possible to get nearly pure alcohol. Spirituous liquors such as gin, whisky, rum and brandy are produced by this process of distillation.
When drinks containing alcohol are taken, they have a certain effect on the brain, but the drinking of distilled liquors produces
much more marked effects than the drinking of simple fermented drinks such as beer and light wines. In beer, the alcoholic content is about 6 per cent.; it ranges from 9 to 22 per cent, in wines; and in spirits such as gin, rum, whisky and brandy there may be an alcoholic content of 37 to 43 per cent.
CHARACTERISTICS OF ALCOHOL.—
Alcohol is a clear, colourless, transparent liquid. It looks like water, but it is really very different from it in many respects.
It is much lighter than water. A hollow glass bowl that will just float in pure water will sink below the surface when alcohol is added to the water it is floating in. By noticing how far the glass bowl sinks in a mixture of alcohol and water, one can tell how much alcohol has been added to the water. The amount of alcohol present in the mixture can also be found by weighing it.
Pure alcohol burns with a light blue and very hot flame. No one could drink absolutely pure alcohol, because of the pain and burning it would cause in the mouth, throat and stomach. For these reasons, it is made weaker by mixing it with water and other things.
Drinks should be taken to allay thirst, and to help to maintain what is called the normal water balance in the cells of the body. Alcohol profoundly affects this, and tends to
cause a drying and shrinking of the cell contents. Alcoholic drinks tend to make one thirsty, because thirst is simple Nature’s way of asking for more water for the cells.
Alcohol will mix with any amount of water very quickly. It will also mix with many things that do not mix with water. For instance, if alcohol is added to oil and water, it will mix with the oil and the water to form a solution in which the oil and the water are no longer separated.
Alcohol mixes with water so easily that it may take water from other substances. If it is placed in contact with vegetable or animal matter, it takes water from them, leaving them dry and hard. For this reason, alcohol is often used to preserve plants, flowers, insects or even larger forms of life. By placing these things in alcohol, the water they contain is absorbed by the alcohol, germs are killed, and decay is prevented.
The power of alcohol to take water from other substances and to dissolve or mix with such a large variety of things underlies the most important effects of alcohol on the human body.
USES OF ALCOHOL. — Besides being used to preserve various things, alcohol has many other uses. In hospitals, alcohol is perhaps one of the most important substances used. From it is manufactured ether, the
most commonly-used anaesthetic. In this way, alcohol helps to save many lives.
Because it kills germs, alcohol is also used for sterilizing or cleansing a patient's skin before an operation. Catgut, which is used for stitching up wounds, is preserved in alcohol. Patients who have to stay in bed a long time are rubbed with alcohol. It toughens the skin and helps to prevent bed sores.
Drugs made from plants, roots and seeds must be manufactured in alcohol so that their strength will not be lost. If water were used, they would soon decay. Alcohol is used in the manufacture of more than four thousand different kinds of medicine.
Alcohol is also used in the manufacture of hundreds of products such as flavouring extracts, paints, varnishes, dyes, perfumes, photographic and picture-show films, dry ice, ink, beauty preparations and vinegar. Nowadays, it is sometimes used as a motor fuel instead of petrol.
IS ALCOHOL A FOOD?—Some people believe that alcohol is a food. They often take alcoholic drinks with their meals, as well as between meals. They say that these drinks help digestion, supply the body with energy, and take the place of other foods. Many studies have been made to see if these beliefs are true. Let us see what has been learned.
First of all, we must be clear about what we mean by "food. In Chapter 1 we found that foods build new body tissue, repair waste tissue, and furnish energy and heat so that the muscles can do their work. Foods may also be stored for future use.
Investigations have proved that alcohol cannot be digested and absorbed into the blood stream as is the case with nourishing foods such as fats, carbohydrates and salts that build and repair body tissue. It remains unchanged and cannot be stored by the body for future use. What actually happens is this. It circulates in the blood stream for fifteen to twenty-four hours, and, during this time, it is very slowly burnt. It therefore provides fuel for the body and assists in providing a form of heat and energy for a short time. In this respect, alcoholic drinks may have some value.
On the other hand, the body requires different kinds of foods to grow healthy and strong. It must have meats, fat-foods such as butter, starches or sugars, and salts and vitamins as are obtained in fresh fruit and green vegetables. All of these help the body to grow or to replace parts that are worn out. Alcohol does not do any of these things. It does not provide nourishment for the body, for it does not contain any of the vitamins that are essential for good health. No
matter how much alcohol is taken into the body, its maximum food value is not more than that obtained by eating two lumps of sugar every hour.
Although alcohol is not a nourishing food, and serves only to give a little heat, drinks made from it may contain other substances that do have food value. These may be absorbed and used, or stored in the body in the form of fats. A heavy drinker is often quite fat, but, in his case, the fat is stored around his heart, liver, blood vessels and muscles. The body does not need fat in these places, and consequently such people are likely to suffer from ill-health and to have their powers of resisting disease lowered. In the case of the heavy drinker, his appetite for nourishing foods may be lowered, and this may cause a serious illness called pellagra, which is a deadly deficiency disease.
Alcoholic drinks are therefore not desirable foods, and should not be taken if we wish to remain healthy.
CHAPTER 3.—ALCOHOL AND HEALTH.
We can expect to remain healthy only when our foods are of the right kinds, and are eaten in the right quantities. We should soon become ill if we ate only one kind of food simply because we were very fond of it, or because it was the only food we could get. Diseases such as beri-beri, scurvy and pellagra are caused by some deficiency in the diet. A well-balanced diet is essential for good health.
Alcohol has a limited food value. But even if we used it along with other foods such as milk and vegetables to make a well-balanced diet, it is very doubtful whether we would remain as healthy as we should be if we lived without it.
The use of alcohol may injure our bodies in many ways.
DIGESTION.—When we eat, our food is broken up by the teeth and mixed with saliva from glands inside the mouth. This helps us to swallow the food. It then passes to the stomach where it is churned round by muscles and mixed with juices from glands in the lining of the stomach. These juices help to break down the carbohydrates, fats and proteins in our food so that the body can use them.
As soon as the stomach has done its work, the partly digested food passes on to the small intestine. Here it is again squeezed and pushed round by the muscles. In the lining of the small intestine there are more glands that manufacture digestive juices.
The juices from the stomach and small intestine soak out of the food everything the body can use. This dissolved food then passes through the lining of the small intestine into the blood vessels, and is carried to all parts of the body to supply growth, energy, heat, and to repair tissues that have been worn out.
Alcohol irritates the sensitive linings of the stomach, and causes them to become red and inflamed. This irritation is increased when quantities of alcohol are taken on an empty stomach. Heavy drinkers often suffer from gastritis or inflammation of the lining of the stomach. Alcohol not only slows up the process of digestion; it also drugs the nerves and muscles of the stomach.
LIVER. — When alcohol passes through the stomach and intestine, it is absorbed by the blood in exactly the same form as when it was swallowed. It is carried in the blood through the liver to the heart, and then to all parts of the body.
The liver acts as a storehouse. Some of the food not needed by the body is stored in
the liver. This is used between meals or “when we work hard and our bodies need extra food. The livei* also extracts waste materials from our food.
Several leading English physicians stated that 60 to 80 per cent, of all cases of cirrhosis of the liver in that country are due to the use of alcohol. This disease causes a hardening or "drying up of the liver. Excessive use of alcohol destroys the cells of the liver, and leads to a storing up of unhealthy fat. As a result, the liver is less able to purify the food that comes to it from the intestine. This, in turn, brings about a condition favourable to the development of cirrhosis.
HEART.—At one time alcohol was used to assist a patient in recovering from a faint. In such cases, it was thought that alcohol stimulated the heart. We know now that this is not true. Alcohol depresses the heart and weakens it. The regular use of alcohol may cause a weakening of the muscles in the walls of the heart by causing them to become fat and flabby. And so the heart loses its vigor and usefulness. Nowadays, alcohol is no longer used by medical men for the purpose stated above.
When alcohol is used in cases of fainting, it acts as an irritant on the mucous membrane
of the mouth and throat. The beneficial effect appears almost immediately, and long before it is possible for any amount of alcohol to have been absorbed by the blood and carried to the heart. The effect is similar to that obtained by the use of smelling salts.
Some scientists have claimed that the long-continued use of alcohol causes the arteries to lose their elasticity, with the result that they become hardened and less useful. Other scientists doubt whether this is true. But we do know that alcohol affects the arteries so that they become less efficient in conveying the blood to all parts of the body.
BRAIN.—The brain acts as a sort of central telephone exchange that receives messages from and sends messages to all parts of the body. Different parts of the brain are concerned with different activities. For example, in the brain there are separate centres that control our sight, our movement, and our sense of smell, etc.
Every part of the body is connected to some part of the brain by thousands of nerves. An injury to these nerves means that they cannot carry their message to the brain. The result is that we cannot act at all, or we act slowly and uncertainly.
Alcohol slows down the working of our nervous system. Even small quantities of alcohol may have the effect of dulling our
judgment to the extent that accidents may be caused. For this reason, pilots of aeroplanes, drivers of motor cars, trains and trams, as well as others in whose charge the lives of many persons are often placed, should never take alcohol.
Some people drink alcohol because of the peculiar effect it has on the brain. It gives them a feeling of comfort and self-assurance that makes them heedless of the consequences. For the time-being, it brings them a sense of release from their worries. They are enabled to escape from the realities of the every-day world. After taking alcohol, some people who are naturally quiet and reserved, become jolly and talkative. They may even become loud-spoken and boisterous in their behaviour. They gradually lose control over their words, thoughts and actions. The use of alcohol takes from man the quality that makes him superior to all other forms of animal life—the power of logical thought.
Some people believe that alcohol has a stimulating effect on the cells of the brain. It is true that a small amount of alcohol makes people brighter and more talkative than they are under normal circumstances. But tests have proved that this is not a sign of stimulation. After taking even small amounts of alcohol, it was found that such people were slower and less accurate than
they were before. Some trained typistes were tested for speed and accuracy before and after taking alcohol. They believed that their results were better after taking alcohol. It was proved, however, that this was not so. After taking alcohol, their work was slower, and they made more mistakes.
Alcohol acts as a narcotic drug. "Narcotic’ is a Greek word that means "To numb or to produce deep sleep.’ Alcohol has this depressing or numbing effect on all parts of the nervous system and the brain.
In extreme cases of alcoholic excess, the brain cells may be permanently injured. This results in mental diseases of various kinds, which may lead to insanity and death.
MUSCLES.—Most boys play some form of sport. Some, however, are better at games than others. This is not necessarily because they are stronger, or that they practise more than others. It is rather because they are more skilful and have better "timing" than others.
Bradman is a small man, but he is a great cricketer, because he is able to ‘ time his strokes perfectly. His brain, eyes and muscles all work together in perfect unison. This working together is called "co-ordination.” Without it, no one can become a •champion in any form of sport.
Alcohol and perfect co-ordination do not go together. Alcohol not only disturbs the power of the brain to think clearly. It also spoils our muscular co-ordination.
Further, it weakens the strength of the muscles. Here is a story to illustrate the point. During the Boer War, an English army of 30,000 men had to march hundreds of miles with the greatest speed possible to relieve the garrison at Ladysmith. There were many people in danger, the weather was very hot, and the water supply was poor. The army marched for four months under terrible hardships. The men who dropped out were not the tall men or the short men, not the big men or the little men—they were the drinkers!
BODY TEMPERATURE.—A thermostat is a modern invention for regulating temperatures. It is used in connexion with air conditioning plants, refrigerators, incubators, and many other scientific inventions for keeping temperatures constant. Without a thermostat, these inventions would be more or less useless.
Although we have no thermostats in our bodies, the temperature of a healthy person varies only very slightly. This is controlled by the flow of blood, and the size of the blood vessels. The tiny blood vessels in the skin are as elastic as rubber. In warm weather,
they increase in size, and more blood comes to the surface of the body. The blood is cooled by the air, and by perspiration. The cooled blood then goes back into the body, and more warm blood comes to the surface to be cooled. This helps us to keep cool when the weather is hot.
When we get hot, our skin becomes red. This is because the small blood vessels near the surface of the skin are dilated and are full of blood. Confirmed drinkers often have red faces and red noses, because the skin vessels have been open so long that they have lost their elasticity and cannot close.
When we are cold, these blood vessels contract and the blood does not come to the surface. When we are very cold, our skin becomes “goosy,” because the small blood vessels are almost completely closed.
Alcohol has the effect of causing the tiny blood vessels to open wide. This causes the blood to come to the surface so that the skin feels warm. If alcohol is taken in cold weather, our body temperature is therefore lowered, and in extremely cold temperatures, this can be very dangerous. For this reason, polar explorers do not favour the use of alcohol as a means of keeping warm.
Many people still believe that alcohol will keep them warm in cold weather. They feel
'warm, but actually their body temperature is lowered by the use of alcohol. Because they feel warm, often they do not take sufficient precautions against catching cold. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that pneumonia is more often found among people who drink alcoholic beverages than among those who do not, and that such patients, because of their general state of health, are more likely to die from this disease.
RESISTANCE TO DISEASE. — Medical
men do not agree that alcohol has a healthy effect upon our bodies. When taken regularly or excessively, it makes the doctor s task more difficult.
Alcohol weakens the resistance of the body to tuberculosis. People who have been taking alcohol for a long time seem to develop tuberculosis more easily than those who never use it.
An investigation of the deaths caused by cholera, a disease of the tropics, showed that 90 per cent, of the patients who used alcohol died. Of those who did not use it, only 1 9 per cent. died.
People who use alcohol do not recover from operations or injuries as quickly or as certainly as those who are abstainers. In these cases, there is the danger of infection, which leads to blood poisoning.
Alcohol may even cause some diseases. Gout is usually thought to be due almost entirely to the use of alcohol.
At one time, doctors used to prescribe alcohol, in the form of spirits, as an antidote for snake-bite, and in other cases where it was desirable that the patient should be stimulated into action. The old-fashioned doctor believed that alcohol was good for his patients because they said it made them feel better. Nowadays, however, its effect as a narcotic poison is well known, and doctors are using it less and less as a medicine. They know of many better and less harmful types of medicine to give their patients.
CHAPTER 4.—THE COST OF ALCOHOL.
In the previous chapter, we learnt about the effects of alcohol on our bodies. We know that it has practically no value as a food, it slows down our ability to think clearly and quickly, it causes us to move more slowly and less accurately than we would otherwise do, it has a bad effect on our digestion, and it lowers our bod}' temperature. In short, it weakens the body in many ways, and thereby lowers our resist-ence to disease.
In some forms, alcohol may be useful, but its disadvantages are much more numerous and more important than its advantages.
The effects of alcohol would be serious enough even if it cost nothing. Every year, much money that could be spent to better advantage in many other ways is spent in the purchase of alcoholic drinks. Let us see what the total cost amounts to, and how it compares with the value of our main industries.
In the year 1941-42 Victorians spent £11,647,032 in the purchase of alcoholic drinks. After allowing for all cost of production and marketing, the value of the prin-
cipal industries for the same year was as follows:
£15,51 1,086 £20,467,898 £12,601,657 £2,769,204 £4,109,750 £2,213,229
Poultry & Bees........
Trapping, Forestry & Fisheries Mining..............
Almost as much money was spent on drink as was available to all those people engaged in the dairying industry; and the poultry farmers, bee-keepers, trappers, timber workers, fishermen and miners did not together earn as much as was spent on drink in that one year!
In 1941, almost a quarter of a million children attended State schools in Victoria. The cost of education during that year was £3£ millions. This was equal to £1/15/9 per head of population. The drink bill cost £5/19/2 per head of population—more than three times as much! The Nation s drink bill is enormous. So huge are the figures that they are perhaps beyond our understanding!
How does the cost of alcohol affect the individual? Here is an illustration. An old carpenter complained that he was obliged to work as hard at sixty years of age as when he was a young man. He had always been
sober and industrious. Although he had not been a total abstainer, he had spent only sixpence a day on alcoholic drinks. Let us suppose that he commenced doing this when he was twenty years of age. Therefore, for forty years he had spent £7/16/6 a year on drink—a total amount of £313. If he had been an abstainer, and had invested this sum year by year, he would have had a considerable amount of money to help him in his old age. How much more could be saved in a lifetime by heavy drinkers?
CHAPTER 5.—TRAFFIC AND CRIME.
TRAFFIC.—Of all modern inventions, the motor car has been responsible for more accidents than any other. In Australia, more than 1,000 people are killed and 2,000 are injured in traffic accidents each year. Many of the injured are crippled for life.
The modern car moves swiftly. Driver and pedestrian alike need to be ever on the alert. Clear vision, good hearing, accurate judgment and quick reaction are all needed by anj'one who drives a car in traffic, or who wishes to cross a busy street. The use of alcohol affects all of these powers just the same as a severe cold or extreme fatigue will cause us to act more slowly and less accurately than we normally do.
It is not surprising, therefore, to find that drunken drivers or drunken pedestrians figure prominently amongst the people concerned in traffic accidents. In many other cases, police enquiries have not resulted in satisfactory proof that such accidents are traceable to drink. But the suspicion that this is so has often been very strong indeed.
It is difficult to prove legally that a person is under the influence of drink. His muddled state of mind may be due to a diseased condition, or to the effect of a medicine pre-
scribed by a doctor. In other cases, the enquiry into the causes of the accident is conducted some time afterwards, when the state of the person has often undergone a marked change. He may have been ‘‘under the influence’’ when the accident occurred, but the shock experienced by him at the time may have “sobered him up.” In such cases, it is difficult for the police to prove that he was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
In certain parts of the United States, tests are conducted of the breath of persons suspected of being under the influence of alcohol. By means of these tests it is possible to find the percentage of alcohol in the blood. Where this exceeds .15 per cent., or 1drops of alcohol for every 1000 drops of blood, the person is considered to be "under the influence."
Even where the percentage of alcohol in his blood is not as high as this, a car driver or a pedestrian needs to exercise great care. A person who has had only a little alcohol feels more than usually confident of his ability to drive his car, or to walk safely across a street. He is less cautious than usual. The result is that he "takes a chance.’ It is then that accidents are more likely to occur. One false step or turn may lead to disaster.
The person who has had only a few drinks is the really dangerous driver. He is tempted to take risks that he would not normally think of taking, and his ability to decide quickly what to do in an emergency is lessened.
An experiment was conducted with such a person. He was tested twice—before and after taking alcohol. In each case, his car was travelling at a speed of 30 miles per hour. In the first test, the car travelled sixteen feet after the driver had been given the signal to stop. In the second test, after the driver had been given a drink containing alcohol, the car travelled twenty-two feet. Who knows what might have happened in that extra six feet? Many deaths and serious accidents have been caused because the driver was not alert, and was unable to stop promptly.
Where it is proved that the driver of a car was under the influence of intoxicating liquor at the time of an accident, insurance companies will not recognize a claim for the damage caused. Thus, in addition to physical injury to himself, and perhaps to others, the drunken driver pays for repairs to his car, even if it is fully insured against accident. The safest plan for all people who move in traffic is to abstain from the use of intoxicating liquor.
CRIME.—The use of intoxicating liquors provides much work for the police. It may even be said that most of the time they spend in maintaining law and order is taken up in dealing with cases where alcohol is one of the underlying causes. Cases of cruelty, neglect, thieving and gambling are frequently associated with the use of alcohol.
The number of arrests and summons cases for drunkenness exceeds those for any other single cause. In Victoria in 1941 these amounted to 12,064 out of a total of 77,003 arrests and summonses for all types of offences. In that year, 39 people out of every 1,000 were arrested or summoned for some offences against the law. Of these, 6 were cases of drunkenness.1 In many of the other 33 cases, the use of intoxicating liquors was one of the causes leading to the offence.
Obedience to the law can only be obtained if citizens exercise self-control. When people do just what they want to do without thinking how it may affect others, they act very selfishly. If we are to live together happily, we must obey recognized rules, just as we do when playing a game. If we do not play football fairly, the umpire blows his whistle and gives a free kick against us. And if we do not think of others and obey the laws,
the policeman acts as the umpire on behalf of the law, and sees that we are punished.
It is not always easy to do the right thing. There are many temptations in life—-and one of these is alcohol. If we can resist the temptation to drink alcoholic liquors when we are young, we have a good chance of strengthening our self-control and character. This, in turn, helps us to become better citizens when we grow up. If all citizens were total abstainers, the police would have much less work to do, our gaols would have fewer inmates, and we should all be very much happier both individually and as a people.
CHAPTER 6.—INDIVIDUAL, HOME AND NATION.
WHY DO PEOPLE DRINK? — Many
answers to this question could be given. Here are a few of the more important ones.
Some people believe that intoxicating •drinks provide them with a kick or a stimulus. By dulling the sense of selfcriticism and control, alcohol creates the illusion in the drinker that he is someone of importance. It gives him "Dutch courage,’ he lets himself go, and he becomes talkative, ‘‘funny’’ and boastful.
People often drink because they like the taste of alcoholic beverages. In various parts of the world, light beers or wines are frequently served with meals as we serve tea, coffee or cocoa. People who drink solely for this reason usually content themselves with small quantities of light beverages at meal times.
Some people drink because they want to be sociable, to make themselves good fellows.” They find a spirit of jollity and gaiety in the hotel bar that they do not experience elsewhere.
In other cases, people drink because they believe that a few glasses of beer help them to forget their worries. They look to alcohol
as a means of escape from unpleasant experiences. They may be unemployed, they may have poor living conditions, or they may be unhappy at home. At first, a few drinks help them to forget. But, after a time, larger amounts are required to obtain the same effect. In too many cases, the result is that such persons find themselves mastered by the growing habit. This is how drunkards are made.
There are many other reasons why people drink. Perhaps you could name a few. Try.
THE EFFECT ON THE INDIVIDUAL.—
The person who drinks intoxicating liquors, such as beer, wines and spirits, forms a habit that is dangerous both to himself and to everyone with whom he comes in contact.
George Smith was such a man. He started by having a few drinks daily after work with one or two friends. He enjoyed their company, and the drinking made him feel very comfortable and talkative. Then he met them in the evenings, and they gossiped about football, racing, and other things as they drank their cocktails. He became a steady drinker, and was proud of the fact that he-could drink a lot without becoming drunk.
This went on for some time. Gradually,, he commenced to take less pride in his per-
sonal appearance. He became slovenly and untidy in his dress. His employers noticed that he was frequently absent from work, he was often late, and he could not be relied upon to do a job satisfactorily. In addition, he became nervy and impatient. His lack of self-control was, in more and more cases, the cause of quarrels with his work-mates. As a result, they lost their respect for him.
All of this led to more and more drinking until, at last, the habit was so strongly formed that he could not shake it off. He became a slave to drink. Finally, he lost his job. He drank more still to forget his worries. And then his health broke down.
We cannot help feeling sorry for George Smith. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for anyone to help him now, and he cannot help himself. He has no self-control; he is a person of weak character.
THE EFFECT ON THE HOME.—George Smith had a wife and three young children. Ha was very fond of them. When he commenced going out in the evenings his wife became worried. She missed his company, i.nd the children frequently enquired where he was. It was seldom that he was home before they went to bed, and he saw very little of his children during the week-ends, too.
Mr. Smith’s wages were just sufficient to pay the rent, buy food and clothing for the children, and pay the taxes. By careful management, Mrs. Smith was just able to make ends meet. Sometimes she was able to save enough to take the children to the beach or to the pictures.
George Smith’s drinking habit cost him money that he could not afford to spend in that way. It became no longer possible for Mrs. Smith to take the children out. As Mr. Smith began to drink more and more, there was less and less money to buy the necessary food and clothing. The shop-keepers knew about his drinking habits, and they refused to supply Mrs. Smith with groceries unless she paid cash. This she could not do, and so there was less food for the children. Mrs. Smith made most of the children’s clothes from old clothing that she had, and from some given to her by kindly neighbours.
All this caused a good deal of unhappiness in the Smith home. If Mrs. Smith spoke to him about his drinking or asked him to give it up, George became angry and impatient, and went out in a temper to join his friends in more drinking.
When he lost his job, George Smith found it difficult to get another one where he could earn as much money. His employers soon
found that he was unreliable, and they did not keep him very long.
We shall draw a veil over the Smith family here, but you have seen enough of them to know that their future would not be very bright unless Mr. Smith gave up his drinking habits. Unfortunately, he could not or would not do this.
The effect of drink on this home was that the children lost their respect for their father, and the mother became worried and unsettled, with the result that quarrels frequently occurred. Further, the children had fewer pleasures, insufficient food and inadequate clothing. Finally, the home that had once been a happy place for all became a place of unhappiness, poverty, and neglect.
efficiency of a nation depends on the efficiency of its individual citizens, and the effectiveness of their co-operation with each other for the good of all. The more George Smiths there are in a community, the lower that efficiency will be. A nation with many citizens like George Smith will find that its health will deteriorate, its standards of home life will be lowered, its young people will be neglected, and it will have less money to spend on things that are worth-while. Finally, it will cease to count as a nation.
In the last chapter we said that the more George Smiths there were in the nation, the poorer that nation would be in all the things that count for efficiency.
Each boy and girl reading this book is one of the nation to which he belongs. He owes it to that nation to do his best for it. How can he do this? Only by following such rules of health as will keep him fit to carry out his daily work. The person who is "fit” is the person who can best do his work, and a nation of fit persons must, in turn, be an efficient nation. To be "fit," physically and mentally, it is clear that a person must have a healthy body.
The ancient peoples had a saying which meant “a sound mind in a sound body.” When children are born, in most cases their brains function normally. They have sound minds. They can keep them so by keeping their bodies sound. The way to keep the body sound is to eat, drink, sleep, take exercise, and work in such a way that no harm results. The person who works too much, gets too little exercise and rest. His body will not remain sound. The person who takes alcohol to excess is certain to have a body that will not be wholly sound; and, as the body has a certain effect on the mind, the drinker of alcohol cannot have a sound mind in a sound body. Thus, since no person can be sure that he will be able to take only a moderate amount of alcohol, and that the desire for alcohol will not grow on him, his best plan is not to take it at all. Therefore, to ensure that body and mind remain sound, one of the rules a person should follow is to be a total abstainer. He should not take any alcoholic drinks such as beer, wines, or spirits.
Some great authors have felt the same about the wisdom of not taking alcoholic drinks. Among these was Jack London, who wrote a book called ‘‘John Barleycorn" to show what he felt about total abstinence.
Here are one or two famous quotations that are worth learning by heart:
“O thou invisible spirit of wine! If thou hast no other name to be called by, let us call thee devil.” (Shakespeare).
‘‘O God, that men should put an enemy into their mouths to steal away their brains! (Shakespeare).
"Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control,
These three alone lead life to sovereign power.” (Tennyson).
Victorian Year Book, 1941-42.