THE AMERICAN ALCOHOL and DRUG INFORMATION FOUNDATION
Doing Business As (dbas):
Michigan Council on Alcohol Problems (MICAP)
Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education (JADE)
Alcohol Research Information Services (ARIS)
by Rev. W. J. (Bill) Amundsen, Retired,
Treasurer, AADIF Board of Directors
While our name, as presently known, the American Alcohol and Drug Information Foundation would not evolve for many years, it's genesis was the United States voter repeal of prohibition on December 5, 1933.
At that time, the Michigan Temperance Foundation (one of our predecessor organizations) and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) recognized the need for controls in the sale of beverage alcohol (B/A) between the manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Those two predecessor groups encouraged the formation of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and lobbied the state legislature until it was formed. A control-state had and has several purposes: 1) It would dissuade Capone-like organized crime involving B/A. 2) It would help the State of Michigan to collect the taxes from the sale of B/A. 3) It would control the price of B/A and thereby moderate the drinking habits of those imbibing (higher prices equal lower consumption). 4) It would prevent monopolies in the distribution of the legalized drug.
As that early history indicates, the main thrust of AADIF has been and remains to nudge the state legislature and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) toward a “Best Public Policy” regarding B/A, and not to cave to the whims of the liquor and hospitality industries.
There have been some special emphases during our over 100-year history. One of those was the hiring of a hero, Glenn Cunningham, former Olympic Miler, to speak at high school youth assemblies throughout the high schools in Michigan. This was a great deterrent to underage drinking in Michigan.
Because of the many bottles incorporated into the liquor industry, AADIF joined with the Michigan United Conservation Club in persuading voters to adopt the 10-cent per bottle redemption on most single-serve beverage bottles. That remains in effect today.
About the time we were urging voters to clean up our highways with the bottle-bill mentioned above, an organization which published the Jade Journal (Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education) in Vermont was closing its doors. The journal became available and our then director, Rev. Allen B. Rice, II, acted quickly. He drove to Vermont and picked up old issues, microfilms of past issues, subscription lists, and other paraphernalia and brought it “home” to Michigan. Thirty years later, we are still publishing it. It is a peer-reviewed journal, now in its 60th year of publication. Through its pages, we contribute to and provide new literature regarding beverage alcohol and other drugs. Our editor is a professor of Behavioral Health Promotion & Education in the School of Health Science at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. JADE is well-cited in the academic literature about beverage alcohol and other drugs.
For a period of several years during the 80’s and 90’s, AADIF sought to bring education and information regarding many social issues. One such issue was casino gambling. We soon learned that we did not have the resources to cover the waterfront, so to speak. The Board of Directors promptly returned to concerns about B/A (a legal drug), and other drugs (illegal).
Support of AADIF, through the years, has come primarily through the church community and individuals who feel strongly about public alcohol policy. To that end, our executive directors and some other persons have visited the churches of Michigan, told the AADIF story and asked for special offerings and donations. Individuals and churches still remain our chief means of support. If your church or organization would like a presentation, please call us to schedule a mutually agreeable time.
In the early years of the 21st century, we also acquired the registered name “ARIS” (Alcohol Research Information Services). Through that name, we receive some minimal support.
While a great emphasis is being placed today, through federal grants, federal policies and federal guidelines on illegal drugs, B/A remains the most insidious drug in our country. It is a “gateway” drug through which users find their way to other illegal drugs. The cost of B/A to our state and nation, in dollars and cents alone, irrespective of human and family suffering, is staggering. The Board of Directors, therefore, has agreed that most of our energy and resources will be aimed, both in the legislature and in our newsletter, The MICAP-RECAP, toward the best state policy on beverage alcohol.
A fitting conclusion to this history is the purpose statement for AADIF which has been adopted and which guides us into the future. It reads:
“The American Alcohol and Drug Information Foundation (AADIF) educates Michigan citizens about the consequences of the abuse of beverage alcohol and other impairing drugs and promotes public policies that eliminate or mitigate those consequences”.
We hope you will see the significance of that statement and want to lend your personal and/or financial support toward that effort. Much remains to be done to create a “Best Public Policy” for Michigan. And each of the tasks requires swimming upstream, so to speak, against the whims of the liquor and hospitality industries whose bottom line is to sell more B/A to whomever.
Tasks presently on the docket for a “Best Public Policy” for Michigan regarding beverage alcohol include:
Increase the tax on a glass or bottle of beer, wine and/or spirits by 5-cents and earmark the proceeds to education, substance abuse treatment and health services for those who abuse themselves using B/A or other drugs. Also, that tax needs to be tied to inflation so the tax will stay at the same relative percentage of the purchase price. The last tax was adopted in 1966, and through inflation is worth less than 25% of the original value. While increases in taxation seem small (only 5-cents per drink), statistical evidence shows that even this small raise in price will significantly reduce abusive drinking and the problems associated with it.
The blood alcohol content (BAC) for drunk driving and driving under the influence needs to be lowered from 0.08% to 0.05%. Statistical evidence shows that a driver with a BAC of even 0.06% is twice as likely to cause an accident or death by driving than another driver who has not been drinking at all.
Continue the publication of our JADE Journal and the MICAP-RECAP in the effort to educate and inform the citizenry of our state, nation and world so they may make wise choices regarding the “Best Public Policy” for Beverage Alcohol.