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Media Statement

For Immediate Release: February 12, 2009
Contact: Division of News & Electronic Media, Office of Communication
(404) 639-3286

Binge Drinking in the Military

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine released a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) using data from the Department of Defense to determine the prevalence of binge drinking among active-duty military personal.

"Binge Drinking Among U.S. Active-Duty Military Personnel" is currently available in the March 2009 issue of the journal and the abstract is available at the following link http://www.ajpm-online.net/article/S0749-3797(08)00969-0/abstract.

Binge drinking (usually defined as consuming 5 or more drinks on 1 occasion for a man; 4 or more drinks on 1 occasion for a woman) is responsible for over half of the 79,000 alcohol-attributable deaths in the United States each year, and is associated with many adverse health and social consequences.

The study analyzed data from 16,037 active-duty military personnel who participated in a 2005 Department of Defense Survey of Health-Related Behaviors among Military Personnel. Key findings from the study include:

  • In 2005, 43 percent of active-duty military personnel (ADMP) reported past-month binge drinking, resulting in a total of 30 million episodes of binge drinking, or about 30 episodes of binge drinking per person per year.
  • Binge drinking rates were highest among active duty personnel aged 17-25 years of age, and about 5 million episodes were reported by active duty personnel who were underage (aged 17-20 years).
  • Over half (52 percent) of binge drinkers reported they had experienced at least one alcohol-related problem or other risk behavior during previous year, and binge drinkers were significantly more likely than non-binge drinkers to report alcohol-related harms, including job performance problems, alcohol-impaired driving, and alcohol-attributable crime.

Binge drinking is common among active duty military personnel, and is strongly associated with health and social problems, including problems with job performance and alcohol-impaired driving. Evidenced-based strategies for preventing binge drinking, including maintaining and enforcing the age 21 minimum legal drinking age, increasing alcohol excise taxes, and screening and counseling for alcohol misuse, should be aggressively implemented.

This study provides further evidence that binge drinking is a major public health problem in the United States. For more information on Alcohol and Public Health, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/index.htm.

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

 
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