Naval Academy Cracks Down on Alcohol Use with Breathalyzer Tests

The Naval Academy is using Breathalyzer tests to detect alcohol use in its students, known as midshipmen, the Marine Corps Times reports.

The tests, which have been used over the past two years, are typically administered Friday and Saturday nights, the article notes. Use of Breathalyzers are part of the academy’s campaign to decrease alcohol abuse, and will serve as a model for a new initiative to use random alcohol breath tests throughout the Navy and Marines.

When a midshipman fails a breath test, his or her fate is left largely up to the discretion of officials, the article notes. The breath test program has reduced alcohol-related offenses, according to the academy’s Captain Robert Clark.

The test estimates the percent concentration of alcohol in a person’s blood, based on the volume of alcohol in an exhaled breath. Results from portable Breathalyzers are sometimes ruled inadmissible at court-martial, because of accuracy concerns.

Midshipmen with a blood alcohol content above .08 are flagged for intervention, which could result in a range of actions including substance abuse treatment or disciplinary action.

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