Medical Surveillance Monthly Report (MSMR). Volume 8, Number 8, November/December 2002
ARMED FORCES HEALTH SURVEILLANCE CENTER SILVER SPRING MD
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Alcohol disorders are among the leading sources of disease burden in industrialized countries, and the finding is not exclusive to civilian populations. For example, a recent study among US Navy recruits found that, despite being overwhelmingly underage, 75 had consumed alcohol and 26 had engaged in heavy drinking in the year prior to enlisting. Surveys among active military members found that they are significantly more likely than their civilian counterparts to engage in heavy uses of alcohol and that heavy drinking is especially prevalent among the youngest and male members. In the 1990s, alcohol dependence was the second leading cause of hospitalizations of service members and in 2001, alcohol dependence was the sixth leading cause of ambulatory visits source DMED. Finally, drinking alcohol has been associated with increased risk of accidental death among US soldiers. Appropriately, the US Department of Defense has included alcohol disorders among its top priorities for prevention. For this report, records of hospitalizations and ambulatory medical visits were used to estimate rates of, and to characterize individuals who received, diagnoses of alcohol disorders including abuse and dependence while serving on active duty in the US military between January 1998 and March 2002.
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