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Alcohol misuse 'significantly higher' in armed forces
15/12/2011

The Guardian

Alcohol misuse in the armed forces is "substantially higher" than the level expected for the general population, according to a parliamentary report, which also finds that in the military the misuse is four times more common than post-traumatic stress disorder.

The defence select committee calls for the Ministry of Defence to conduct an urgent study into the issue to examine why 13% of military personnel have got a "drink problem", compared to 6% in the general population.

The report, published on Thursday, includes evidence from Gerry Berragan, a general, who claimed "there was significant misuse of alcohol in personnel under 35 – about twice as high as in broader society – with an even higher difference for women".

The general said the armed forces recruited risk takers, put them in stressful situations, then returned them home "with money and free time, when they drank excessively".

Though the MoD now provides briefings, warnings and counselling on alcohol misuse, the committee said this was not enough. The MoD had to recognise the seriousness of alcohol abuse within the ranks, and find ways of stopping personnel from turning to the bottle.

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