Recent Pentagon surveys indicate that after a decade of war, a 'shocking' number of troops say they're heavy drinkers. On-duty Marines found with even low levels of alcohol will be sent for counseling.
Responding to recent internal reports that, after a decade of war, a growing number of troops consider themselves heavy drinkers, the Marine Corps has announced a new get-tough policy: Personnel who tally a blood alcohol content of .01 or more while on duty will be sent straight to counseling.
A level of .08 is considered legally drunk in most states.
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.
In 1998, for example, 35 percent of troops in a Defense Department-sponsored survey considered themselves binge drinkers.
Ten years later, that figure had grown to nearly half. At the same time, nearly one in four troops surveyed called themselves “heavy” drinkers.