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May 13, 1983

Worksite anti-alcoholism saves jobs, money

JAMA. 1983;249(18):2427-2433. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330420005003

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In little more than a decade, alcoholism has been transformed in people's minds from a moral failing, not to be discussed in polite society, to a Middle American disease. Over the same period, its therapy has improved enormously, and alcoholics have become far more candid about their problem. Consequently, they have become more successful in linking up with treatment methods and facilities that yield a better-than-even chance of return to productive life.

Just how far this candor has gone was apparent at a recent conference on alcoholism in the workplace that featured a former President of the United States. Gerald Ford not only pledged to use his influence in American corporate boardrooms to advocate better responses to a disease that saps industry of so much strength, but also discussed the impact of alcoholism on his own family. (Former First Lady Betty Ford's battle with the illness was disclosed in 1978