Concerned about alcohol abuse

The Navy’s largest overseas installation has seen a significant drop in incidents of drinking and driving over the last two years, thanks in part, to a persistent sobriety checkpoint program, according to base officials.

Stars & Stripes reports.

The answer to alcohol related incidents, including deaths, injury, and property damage is simple.  Treat alcohol as the drug that it is.  Treat alcohol the same way any other drug use is treated in the military.  Alcohol is considered the number one drug of abuse is it not.  Ban alcohol use unless it is prescribed.

The Army needs to double its staff of substance-abuse counselors to handle the soaring numbers of soldiers seeking alcohol treatment, said Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army’s No. 2 officer.

Army Times reports.

Drugs are prohibited to military members unless they are prescribed.  (And interestingly there are thousands of people on duty taking prescription medications provided to them at no expense to the member.  These medications have warning labels about potential adverse affects, such as drowsiness, yet the member is not placed SIQ or otherwise restricted, except aircrew.)

Drugs are considered dangerous – there are detailed metrics showing how dangerous alcohol is. There are few, if any, metrics showing that drugs have an impact on military service compared to those showing the adverse affect of alcohol.

Remove alcohol from base facilities.

Prohibit alcohol use to anyone, regardless of age.

Ergo, there will be a significant reduction in death, injury, time lost, or damaged property.  Over time the need for more counselors will be reduced thus causing a budget saving.

Or continue the current hypocritical approach to drug use.

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2 responses to “Concerned about alcohol abuse”

  1. TTC says:

    There will also be a significant drop in enlistments, reenlistments, commissions, etc.

    Alcohol is legal and a huge part of our society and culture. We make enough sacrifices in our lives for military careers. Now you’re suggesting that we have to give up something that, for the vast majority of us, is under control and innocent?


  2. Peter E. Brownback III says:

    The Army is not just a reflection of society, it is part of society. Not a welcome part at times, but a part nevertheless.

    We recruit from society and return our members to society. Until society chooses to eliminate alcohol, it would appear that TTC’s final comment is valid.

    Could the Army go to an alcohol-free status tomorrow? Sure it could. We are always available to do whatever our civilian masters direct. In fact, we have an alcohol-free status in many locations right now – combat, exercises, and the like. Each of those has its violations (The ingenuity of the American servicemember in her/his attempts to obtain sex and alcohol is amazing.), but we can become legally alcohol-free.

    Will this work? I don’t know. GEN Wickham’s daughter was killed by a DUI in the 1970’s. When he became CSA, he put the clamps down on the social aspects of alcohol. It did work for a while in some sort of fashion. Of greater import, though, especially in the southern states, was the increasing ability to obtain alcohol off-post – away from the O Club and the package store. The club system went tango-uniform, but alcohol was still there.

    I’ve always wondered in reading these sorts of proposals if Congress or the Department of State or NYU or the AMA should not be used as a test-bed first. Why is it the poor suffering soldier who is always stuck with these ideas?

    None of which means that I am not concerned with DUI and the like. In almost every DUI-manslaughter case I tried, the driver survived and it was her/his “best friend” in the suicide seat who got killed. Bad for the driver, bad for the pax, and bad for the unit. I just don’t know if prohibition is the answer.

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