Drunk Driving
Photo: aijohn784/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Photo: aijohn784/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Binge drinking, drunk driving on the rise among veterans, study finds

A new study found incidents of drunk driving are on the rise among veterans.

Since 2013, the number of veterans who’ve been diagnosed with episodes of binge drinking has increased from roughly 14 percent to nearly 16 percent, according to American Addiction Centers. Arrests for drunk driving have also increased, according to the study.

The study analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2017, binge drinking among America’s veterans was highest among those earning the most annually, including more than 18 percent of men and women making $75,000 or more every year.

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“While binge drinking among veterans was more common with servicemen than women, we found the rate of increase was higher among female veterans overall. Compared to a less than 2 percentage point increase between 2013 and 2017, the rate of binge drinking among women rose from less than 11 percent to nearly 14 percent over the same five years,” the study found. 

The study found that Ohio ranked in the top 10 states for veterans who binge drink. About 18.5 percent of veterans binge drink in Ohio, according to data from the CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Hawaii ranked as the top state for binge drinking among veterans.

Research suggest the biggest factor leading to substance abuse among veterans is post-traumatic stress disorder.

The increase in binge drinking has led to an increase in drunk driving.

Since 2014, the percentage of U.S. veterans identified as driving while drunk increased from 1.6 percent to 2.5 percentThose rates were concurrently higher among men than women but were highest among veterans of both genders earning $75,000 or more in 2017 (3.1%).

In 2016, more than 10,400 people died across the country as a result of alcohol-related crashes, and roughly 1 million drove under the influence, according to American Addiction Centers.

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