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Women Veterans Less Likely Than Male Peers to Abuse Drugs, Alcohol

THURSDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. female veterans are much less likely than their male counterparts to binge-drink, smoke cigarettes or use illicit drugs, a new study finds.

However, female and male veterans are equally likely to abuse prescription drugs, according to the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.

The findings come from an analysis of 2002 to 2009 data from the annual National Survey of Drug Use and Health.

Since the 1970s, the proportion of women serving in the U.S. military has risen significantly, and more women have been deployed to combat areas in a number of roles, including as combat support troops.

Along with facing the same service-related sources of stress as their male counterparts, women in the military face additional stress associated with being in a male-dominated profession, according to the study.

Previous research has found that veterans are more likely to drink, smoke or use drugs than nonveterans, but there is little published data comparing rates of substance use by female and male veterans.

More information

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has more about women veterans' health.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, news release, Nov. 11, 2010

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