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Monday, December 31, 2012

Military Institutes New Methods for Treating Addiction

Drinking in the military has long been a problem worth addressing considering the fact that alcohol related issues have been steadily rising over the years. In response to a new report published by the Institute of Medicine, the United States military has formed a number of new measures to combat the report's findings.

According to the report, substance abuse in the military and their families has become a public health crisis. Their findings showed that the Defense Department’s methods for preventing and treating substance abuse are outdated. Binge drinking in the military increased from 35 percent in 1998, to 47 percent just a decade later.

The new initiatives include:
  • Random breathalyzer tests to Marine Corps members.
  • Bans on some overnight liquor sales for U.S. military personnel in Germany.
  • Barring American service members in Japan from leaving their residences after having more than one alcoholic beverage.
Chairman of the panel, Dr. Charles P. O'Brien director of the Center for Studies of Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote the report and spoke with NBC about his findings; he stated that the panel found that there is only one doctor in the entire U.S. Army that has training in addiction medicine. "This is a specialty where we need more people and they’re not there," he said. "So, most people are not getting treated with evidence-based medicine."

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