Trends in alcohol, illicit drug, and cigarette use among U.S. Military personnel: 1980-1992
This paper examines trends in alcohol use, illicit drug use, and cigarette use in the U.S. military. Data are drawn from five worldwide surveys (conducted in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1988, and 1992) of active-duty personnel. All surveys used similar methods and common measures of alcohol, illicit drug, and cigarette use. Findings indicate steady and notable reductions in overall alcohol consumption, illicit drug use, and cigarette use. They show less decrease in heavy alcohol use, however, and the apparent decline from 1980 to 1992 is largely a function of demographic changes in the military. In 1992, during the 30 days before the survey, about 1 in 3 personnel smoked, about 1 in 7 were heavy drinkers, and about 3 in 100 used illicit drugs; rates were higher among certain demographic subgroups. Further reductions in smoking and heavy drinking remain the major substance use challenges for the U.S. military in the 1990s.