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Alcoholism is a respectable disease, from which people can and do recover.

R. Brinkley Smithers

Mr. R. Brinkley Smithers, a recovering alcoholic, marshaled his personal and family fortune into the nation’s largest foundation in support of alcoholism research, education, prevention, and treatment – the Christopher D. Smithers Foundation.

In the fifties, Brink Smithers forged a close working relationship with Professor Harrison Trice at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Together, they conducted a number of pioneering studies on alcoholism.

In 1990, the ILR School established the R. Brinkley Smithers Institute for Alcohol-Related Workplace Studies with a generous endowment from the Smithers family. The Smithers Institute continues the long collaboration between the ILR School and the Christopher D. Smithers Foundation.

Stories of Recovery

Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

The voice of experience reaches out to explain and elaborate on the nature of the disease of alcoholism. The emphasis of the Smithers Institute is on the workplace—we believe that the workplace is a critical arena for the prevention, intervention, and treatment of alcohol-related problems. The core message of these narratives is that the workplace matters. Whether the voice of an academic researcher, the painful history of a worker in recovery, or the perspective of a policy leader the message is the same: the workplace is on the frontline of the battle against alcoholism.

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New Book:

Retirement and the Hidden Epidemic

Retirement and the Hidden Epidemic

Peter Bamberger discusses the new book co-authored with Samuel B. Bacharach of the ILR School's Smithers Institute and published by Oxford University Press. The book sheds light on alcohol and drug use/misuse patterns in retiring workers.

In the News...

Drinking and Critical Thinking

More Older Adults Are Struggling With Substance Abuse

October 3, 2014
BEFORE her drinking spiraled out of control, Sylvia Dobrow “drank like a lady,” as she put it, matching her wine to her sandwiches: “Tuna and chardonnay, roast beef and rosé.” But soon she was “drinking around the clock,” downing glasses of vodka and skim milk.

[read more...]