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Alcohol abuse more prevalent than opioid abuse, says founder of local treatment center

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- Opioid abuse is a front-of-mind topic for many communities.  But statistics show that across the country, more people are impacted by alcohol abuse.

There were 64,000 drug-overdose deaths in 2016, according to the Center for Disease Control.  In October of 2017, President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a "public health emergency."  Four months later, Congress was awarded $6 billion to help combat the opioid crisis.

Source: CDC WONDER

All of this seems to put opioid abuse at the forefront, but according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse, there are an estimated 88,000 alcohol-related deaths each year.

The founder of The Abbey Addiction Treatment Center in Bettendorf, Joe Lemon, said in his experience, the facility sees much more than opioid addictions.

"There are other addictive substances, principally alcohol that's the main problem across all of our communities," said Lemon. "While opioids are getting all this attention due to overdoses and overdose deaths, in fact way, way, way more Americans are suffering from alcohol abuse than from heroin or other opioids."  He said for every one person suffering from opioid abuse, seven were struggling with alcoholism.

On Tuesday, March 20th Lemon spoke about "Substance Abuse in the Workplace."  He addressed dozens of human resource employees, giving them insight on understanding addiction-related issues and provided tips on identifying substance abuse.

He said employers can not only offer help to struggling workers, but a change in the corporate culture could make an impact.

"Some employers think it's charitable to help take their employees out for drinks, but you have to be mindful of the risks that are associated with that," Lemon said. "So changing the corporate culture is an important issue."

What do you think? Does the workplace "corporate culture" need to change?