Marines face random alcohol testing

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Starting next month, Marines at Camp Pendleton and other bases will be subject to random Breathalyzer tests twice a year under what is billed as the toughest anti-drinking policy in the U.S. military.

Alcohol from a binge-drinking party. (credit: San Diego Sheriff's Department)

Alcohol from a binge-drinking party. (credit: San Diego Sheriff’s Department)

An order issued last week by Lt. Gen. R.E. Milstead Jr., deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs, calls for any Marine or sailor who tests positive at .01% or higher to be referred for counseling. Any Marine or sailor who tests .04% or higher will be referred to medical personnel to determine their fitness for duty.

Milstead’s order notes that while the new order “is primarily for deterrence and education,” nothing precludes commanders from handing out punishment. Each unit will have a staff non-commissioned officer to act as the alcohol screening program coordinator.

In California, a driver with .08% blood alcohol is considered drunk, and his or her driver’s license is immediately suspended. A single drink can lead to a positive test of .01%.

In September, a study by the U.S. Institute of Medicine, sponsored by the Department of Defense, found that binge drinking among military personnel in all branches has increased. In 1998, 35% of personnel admitted to binge drinking in the previous year. In 2008, the last year for which statistics were available, that figure had risen to 47%.



  • Crapocalypse

    Nice to see that one by one every one of us, civilian and military are having our constitutional rights stolen from us.

    I love the stock photo from a “binge drinking party” that the police pulled from some college or high school bust.

    I fear the marine with .01 bac a lot less than the marine that is cut off from any stress relieving outlet as he works 120+ hours a week.

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