Alcohol Abuse Is More Prevalent in the Military Than Drug Abuse

MWD-76-99: Published: Apr 8, 1976. Publicly Released: Apr 8, 1976.

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Alcohol abuse is more prevalent than drug abuse among military personnel and impairs the effectiveness and efficiency of military performance more than illegal drug use does.

The Department of Defense (DOD) is aware that it has severe alcohol problems but it is not doing enough to correct them. DOD has placed much more emphasis on its drug control program. Yet, despite the larger resources being made available to it, the drug control program has problems. A responsive information system is needed. DOD needs to gage the size of its alcohol problem, recognize problems affecting the operation of both the alcohol and the drug control programs, and direct the services on actions needed to improve their respective programs.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary, Health and Environment to: (1) increase alcohol education efforts; (2) reduce or eliminate practices which encourage alcohol comsumption; and (3) provide alternatives to alcohol consumption by encouraging and supporting activities that do not center around drinking. The desirability of the present urinalysis testing program needs to be evaluated and improvements in the educaion of the intent of the drug user exemption policy are necessary to improve the policy's credibility and success. It is necessary to instruct the services in the levels of rehabilitation services necessary to treat particular problems; and the best approaches to deal with the marihuana problem should be especially emphasized. To improve the overall management of drug and alcohol abuse programs, DOD should establish a department-wide system which: (1) will provide uniform and reliable data from the services on the size and impact of the drug and alcohol problems; and (2) can be used by DOD to evaluate the effectiveness of the various service programs and to direct the services on action needed to improve their respective programs.

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