- September 28th 2012
Rising rates of alcohol and prescription drug use among the nation’s armed forces have become a public health crisis that could negatively affect service members’ abilities to perform their duties, said an Institute of Medicine report issued Sept. 17.
In 2008, 47% of active duty personnel reported binge drinking at least once in the previous month, up from 35% in 1998. Between 2002 and 2008, misuse of prescription medication in the past 30 days increased from 2% to 11% of active service members, the IOM report said.
Contributing to the problem are outdated military policies on preventing and treating substance use disorders, according to the IOM. “Many of these policies had been drafted more than 10 years previously and had not been revised to reflect emerging knowledge,” the report said.
Other challenges include patients avoiding care for substance-use disorders due, in part, to concerns about being penalized, and limited training in addiction and psychiatry among phy [Read more]