Alcohol abuse related to domestic violence is an increasing problem in the U.S. Army, according to a new study that also found the suicide rate among active-duty soldiers reached an all-time high last year.
The Army study, “Generating Health and Discipline in the Force,” found alcohol abuse associated with domestic violence rose by 54 percent between 2006 and 2011, according to The Christian Science Monitor. Research indicates that as many as 43 percent of active duty soldiers reported binge drinking within the past month, according to the report.
Prescription drug abuse continues to be a concern for the Army, the report indicates. About half of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan report pain-related problems and symptoms, and 14 percent of soldiers have been prescribed an opioid painkiller. Synthetic drugs such as “Spice” are becoming more common among soldiers, the article noted.
Army Vice Chief of Staff General Peter Chiarelli said there are some encouraging signs. The number of soldiers being referred to treatment programs is increasing. He noted that while waivers for drug and alcohol violations peaked at 1,307 in 2007 so soldiers could continue serving in a time of war, by 2009 those waivers dropped to 337. By 2011, there were no such waivers.