Drug Abuse Rising Among US Soldiers

Military struggles to keep up with demand for substance-abuse counseling
By Rebecca Smith Hurd,  Newser User
Posted Nov 22, 2008 5:16 AM CST
Drug abuse is on the rise among US soldiers.   (Shutterstock)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – US soldiers are testing positive for drugs in record numbers even as the number of Army counselors shrinks, USA Today reports. This year 2.38% of troops tested positive during routine urine screens, up from 1.74% in 2004, and more than 7,000 soldiers were sent to counseling for dependency, up from 5,727 in 2003.

The Army mandates one counselor per 2,000 soldiers, but it employs only one for every 3,100 soldiers. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri says her state's Ft. Leonard Wood hospital denied drug counseling to 150 soldiers because of insufficient staff. “If it was that bad there, it very well could be an Army-wide problem,” said the senator, who’s demanding a military review. An ex-commander maintains that no one was turned away.