Binge Drinking Part of Military Culture, Study Says

Series: Drugs in the Military

Excessive drinking is deeply ingrained in military culture, and service members are more likely than the general public to drive drunk, drink while underage, and be intoxicated while on duty, according to a study from the University of Minnesota and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The MinnPost reported Feb. 12 that researchers examined data on 16,037 active-duty military personnel and found that 43 percent reported binge drinking (defined as consuming four or more drinks on one occasion for females or five or more drinks on one occasion for males) within the past 30 days.

The study also found that 25 percent of military personnel had driven drunk, 7 percent said they had showed up for work drunk or drank on the job, and 11 percent showed up late or left work early because of drinking.

Study co-author Mandy Stahre of the University of Minnesota said that drinking laws need to be more strictly enforced near military bases and that the number and location of bars and liquor stores should be limited around military facilities. Soldiers, sailors and airmen also should be routinely screened for drinking problems, she said.

The study was published in the March 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

See also:  Wounds of War: Drug Problems Among Iraq, Afghan Vets Could Dwarf Vietnam

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