OHSU , along with several other partners, recently released a startling report about the seriousness of alcoholism in the U.S. military.
A summary of the report by CBS News
In a study requested by the Defense Department, the Institute of Medicine report Monday said:
— About 20 percent of active-duty service members reported they engaged in heavy drinking in 2008, the latest year for which data was available. (Heavy drinking was defined as five or more drinks a day as a regular practice.)
— Binge drinking increased from 35 percent in 1998 to 47 percent in 2008. (That’s five or more drinks at a sitting for men, four or more for women, but done perhaps just once or twice a month as opposed to each week.)
— While rates of both illicit and prescription drug abuse are low, the rate of medication misuse is rising. Just 2 percent of active-duty personnel reported misusing prescription drugs in 2002 compared with 11 percent in 2008.
— The armed forces’ programs and policies have not evolved to effectively address medication misuse and abuse.
The report also looked at training materials for the troops, and how these materials address the issue.
Again from CBS:
“We reviewed the training materials the U.S. Navy uses for counselor training. Those materials are based on guidelines originally written in 1984. They haven’t updated them,” said Dr. Dennis McCarty, a professor of public health and preventive medicine at the Oregon Health and Science University. “We think there’s a substantial opportunity to enhance the training for the counselors” who work with active-duty military personnel.