Neo-prohibitionism (also spelled neoprohibitionism and neo-Prohibitionism) is the belief that the influence of alcohol in society should be reduced through legislation and policies which further restrict the sale and possession of alcohol in order to reduce average per capita consumption and change social norms to reduce its acceptability.

Use of the term

Because prohibition of alcohol in the United States and elsewhere generally has been viewed as a widely unsuccessful and unpopular policy, there are no major organizations today which overtly claim to be "neo-prohibitionist," although individuals occasionally do.

Usually, however, the term is used critically to describe groups or individuals, rather than by the groups or individuals themselves. For example, Candy Lightner, the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), eventually left the organization in anger and since has gone on to criticize it as neo-prohibitionist, stating that MADD "has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned … I didn't start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving". Lightner was criticizing MADD's leaders who had called for the criminalization of all driving after drinking any amount of alcoholic beverage.


The concept of neo-prohibitionism has been used and studied by scholars at George Mason University, Auburn University, Ohio State University, Brown University, Indiana University, the University of Houston, the University of Western Ontario,, the State University of New York at Potsdam, the University of California, San Diego, Washington University in St. Louis, the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,, and Kean University.

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