Do war-weary troops have drinking problem? Marines launch get-tough policy.
By Anna Mulrine, Staff writer / January 4, 2013
The new policy – in which all Marines will be tested randomly twice a year – was announced as 2012 drew to a close and in the wake of startling recent statistics about the rise in binge drinking among troops since 2001.
Ten years later, that figure had grown to nearly half. At the same time, nearly one in four troops surveyed called themselves “heavy” drinkers.
And this heavy drinking has consequences, says Col. Timothy Foster, chief of staff of Marine and Family Programs at the US Marine Corps Division Headquarters, in an interview this week.
“If you look at the number of behavioral health issues – whether it’s suicide, sexual assault, or spousal abuse – all of those have one factor in common, and that is alcohol,” he says. “If we put our efforts towards reducing alcohol abuse and misuse in the Corps, these other things will not be totally eliminated, but it will certainly have an effect on those.”