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Norman Kerr

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Early Life and Education:
– Born on May 17, 1834, in Glasgow, Scotland
– Eldest son of Alexander Kerr and Helen Kerr
– Studied at Western Academy and High School
– Worked as a journalist before attending University of Glasgow
– Founded the first Total Abstinence Society for students in 1857

Medical Career:
– Served as resident surgeon at Lock Hospital, Glasgow
– Worked as a surgeon for Montreal Ocean Steamship Company
– Appointed Markyate Medical Officer in 1871
– Became Medical Officer of Health for Marylebone in 1874
– Addressed the outbreak of Typhus in 1881

Temperance Activism:
– Originated the Total Abstinence Society
– Founded the Society for the Study and Cure of Inebriety in 1884
– Advocated for viewing inebriety as a disease
– Coined the term narcomania in his influential textbook
– Promoted temperance movement through speeches and writings

Professional Affiliations and Contributions:
– Elected Fellow of the Linnean Society in 1873
– Member of Obstetrical and Medical Societies of London
– Member of the Harveian Society and British Medical Association
– Founded Church Sanitary Association in 1892 for public health
– Supported measures to prevent epidemics and improve neighborhood health

Views on Alcohol in Medicine and Health Concerns:
– Dr. Norman Kerr opposed medical use of alcohol
– Advocated for minimal use of alcohol in medical practice
– Believed tobacco smoking provided immunity to infections
– Raised health concerns due to common infectious diseases
– Experienced cholera himself and supported sanitary measures for disease prevention.

Norman Kerr (Wikipedia)

Norman Shanks Kerr FLS (17 May 1834 – 30 May 1899) was a Scottish physician and social reformer who is remembered for his work in the British temperance movement. He originated the Total Abstinence Society and was founder and first president of the Society for the Study and Cure of Inebriety which was founded in 1884.

Norman Kerr

Born(1834-05-17)17 May 1834
Glasgow, Scotland
Died30 May 1899(1899-05-30) (aged 65)
Hastings, England
EducationUniversity of Glasgow (M.D. and C.M., 1861)
Occupation(s)Physician, activist
Known forTemperance activism

In his writings he insisted on regarding inebriety as a disease and not a vice: "a disease of the nervous system allied to insanity", an "abnormal condition, in which morbid cravings and impulses to intoxication are apt to be developed in such force as to overpower the moral resistance and control."

I have not attempted to dogmatize on disputed points as to whether inebriety is a sin, a vice, a crime, or a disease. In my humble judgment, it is sometimes all four, but oftener a disease than anything else, and even when anything else, generally a disease as well. (Inaugural address, 1884).

His influential textbook on "Inebriety or Narcomania" was first published in 1888 and went through three editions. In the first edition he coined the term "narcomania" to refer to the disease of inebriety. Note that while 'inebriate' originally described a person intoxicated with alcohol, it later came to include other intoxicating drugs, especially narcotics, such as opium, chlorodyne, ether, chloral, chloroform or cocaine.

He was elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society in 1873 and was also a member of the Obstetrical and Medical Societies of London, the Harveian Society and British Medical Association, being elected to the General Council for the Metropolitan branch.

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