Societal responses to intoxication Chapter uri icon

Book Title

  • Cultures of intoxication: key issues and debates


  • © The Author(s) 2020. Alcohol intoxication is unwelcome to a majority in modern societies, though tolerated in specific circumstances. Societal responses have generally sought to minimise harm and discourage recurrence. Public intoxication, seen as impairing community amenity, was traditionally criminalised, with chronic cases imprisoned or compulsorily treated. Where decriminalised in recent decades, other discouragements have been substituted. Recognising alcohol’s role in domestic violence has brought renewed attention to intoxication in private. Intoxication is involved in many serious crimes and torts and enters into consideration in many ways in legal proceedings. Prevention policies have had the greatest recent success in deterring intoxication prior to driving. Otherwise, discouragement of intoxication has had limited success, with effective steps in the neoliberal era resisted by political elites and alcohol industry interests.

publication date

  • 2020