The number of U.S. soldiers enrolled in alcohol dependency or abuse programs has doubled since 2003, which isn’t surprising considering GIs are deploying on more and longer tours with less down time between. And these stats are probably hiding a bigger problem in consumption, considering that commanders have to be notified if someone is in treatment. So what of those that aren’t seeking help?
The rate of Army soldiers enrolled in treatment programs for alcohol dependency or abuse has nearly doubled since 2003 — a sign of the growing stress of repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Army statistics and interviews.
Soldiers diagnosed by Army substance abuse counselors with alcoholism or alcohol abuse, such as binge drinking, increased from 6.1 per 1,000 soldiers in 2003 to an estimated 11.4 as of March 31, according to the data. The latest data cover the first six months of the fiscal year that began in October.
“We’re seeing a lot of alcohol consumption,” Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army’s vice chief of staff, told top officers during a briefing on the Army’s growing number of suicides.