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U and CDC find startling numbers of active-military personnel engaging in frequent binge drinking
Date:2/12/2009

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (Feb. 12, 2009) Binge drinking is common among active-duty military personnel and is strongly associated with many health and social problems, including problems with job performance and alcohol-impaired driving, according to a new study released by the University of Minnesota and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The study analyzed data from 16,037 active-duty military personnel who participated in a 2005 Department of Defense Survey of Health-Related Behaviors among Military Personnel. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks on one occasion for a woman or five or more drinks on one occasion for a man. It was reported by 43 percent of active-duty personnel during the past-month, resulting in a total of approximately 30 million episodes of binge drinking or roughly 30 episodes per person per year. About two-thirds of these episodes were reported by active-duty personnel who were 17 to 25 years of age at the time of the survey, including 5 million episodes that were reported by active-duty personnel who were under 21 years of age.

The researchers also found that alcohol-related problems were reported by more than half of all active-duty personnel who reported binge drinking, and that compared to non-binge drinkers, binge drinkers were more than six times more likely to report job performance problems and about five times more likely to report driving after having too much to drink.

"Our study clearly shows that binge drinking is a significant public health problem in the military, which is dangerous to both the drinkers and to those around them," said Mandy Stahre, M.P.H., a doctoral candidate in alcohol epidemiology and first author of the study. "It also underscores the importance of implementing effective strategies to prevent underage and binge drinking, such as maintaining and enforcing the age 21 minimum legal drinking age and increasing alcohol excise taxes."


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Contact: Laura Stroup
stro0481@umn.edu
612-624-5680
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

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