Magazine article The Alcoholism Report

Military Drink More Heavily, Use Less Drugs Than Civilians

Magazine article The Alcoholism Report

Military Drink More Heavily, Use Less Drugs Than Civilians

Article excerpt

Military Drink More Heavily, Use Less Drugs Than Civilians

Military personnel are in general significantly more likely than civilians to drink and drink heavily -- particularly younger persons. Drug use, on the other hand, is significantly lower among the military than among civilians with these differences more pronoucned for older persons.

AR obtained a copy of the report -- "Military/Civilian Comparisons of Alcohol, Drug and Tobacco Use" -- comparing the rates of use and negative experiences associated with alcohol and drug use among military personnel and civilians. Conducted by Research Triangle Institute under contract with the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, the study used data for the military drawn from the 1985 Worldwide Survey of Alcohol and Nonmedical Drug Use Among Military Personnel. Data for civilians were drawn from the 1985 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.

The study found that with heavier rates of alcohol use, military personnel are generally "significantly more likely than civilians to have negative experiences associated with alcohol use and a greater number of such experiences." But for younger female military personnel and older male military personnel, negative experiences are more similar to civilians.

Drug use among military men was found "significantly lower" than among civilians, but drug use among military women was "more similar to civilians". Moreover, military personnel were found "significantly less likely than civilians to have negative experiences associated with drug use and have fewer such experiences."

Findings for tobacco use showed that military personnel are in general "significantly more likely" than civilians to be cigarette smokers and to be heavy smokers, with this difference more pronounced for females than for males. Military men are significantly more likely - in general -- than civilian men to use smokeless tobacco, while military women and civilian women both have low rates of such use

The Executive Summary of the study concluded that "these findings suggest that military approaches to eliminating substance abuse and associated negative effects among military personnel have been notably effective for drug abuse but less effective for alcohol use and tobacco use. …

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