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Binge Drinking in Military Families

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Binge Drinking in Military Families

binge drinking risk for children of the deployed
Serving? Who’s Serving Your Kids?

Imagine you’re a parent deployed on active military duty. You’re already thinking about your family back at home, especially the children. Are they doing well in school? Are they eating nutritious food? Are they doing drugs and binge drinking?

Wait, what? Doing drugs and binge drinking?

In a 2010 study, more than 78,000 students were surveyed about various topics, including their experiences with drugs and alcohol. The results showed that children of deployed parents were at greater risk of drinking (especially binge drinking) and abusing drugs.

Sixth-grade children of nonmilitary parents were shown to have about a 2 percent binge drinking rate. But for sixth-graders of military parents, that rate jumped to 7 percent. That’s a little alarming within the same age group, especially when that age is 12 years old.

The study also found that 11th-grade students of deployed or recently returned military parents were more likely to use marijuana.

The study was the 2010 Iowa Youth Study. Most of the military families involved in the study served in reserve units or the National Guard and lived in the community, not on military bases.

Being deployed is difficult and so is knowing what’s going on at home while you’re away. However, it is important to realize that substance abuse is common among children with military parents. Staying in touch with their daily lives can lessen their risk for problems with alcohol abuse.

As an active duty soldier away from your children, have you had to deal with these drug and alcohol issues back at home? How have you kept up with your kids while deployed? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

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