Seventy-two percent of military personnel diagnosed with substance abuse disorder from 2000 to 2011 were from the Army, the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center disclosed in a report released last Friday. That amounts to a whopping 50,513 Army diagnoses, out of a total of 70,104 from all the services combined.
The Air Force had the lowest number of active duty personnel diagnosed with substance abuse during the 11-year survey period, at 3,623, followed by the Marine Corps, with 6,918 and the Navy, with 8,190.
The center did not offer any insights into why the Army had the dubious distinction of such a high rate of substance abuse diagnosis -- which does not include alcohol -- but did observe that troops who had never deployed to combat had a much higher incidence rate than those with four or more deployments.
Cannabis, “mixed/unspecified/other” and cocaine led the list of the most abused substances, the center reported.
Bob Brewin joined Government Executive in April 2007, bringing with him more than 20 years of experience as a journalist focusing on defense issues and technology. Bob covers the world of defense and information technology for Nextgov, and is the author of the “What’s Brewin” blog.