Sailors, Marines to undergo random tests for alcohol

SAN DIEGO — Starting next month, Marines at Camp Pendleton and other bases will be subject to random Breathalyzer tests twice a year under what is billed as the toughest anti-drinking policy in the U.S. military.

An order issued last week by Lt. Gen. R.E. Milstead Jr., deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs, calls for any Marine or sailor who tests positive at 0.01 percent or higher to be referred for counseling. Any Marine or sailor who tests 0.04 percent or higher will be referred to medical personnel to determine his or her fitness for duty.

Milstead’s order notes that while the new order “is primarily for deterrence and education,” nothing precludes commanders from handing out punishment. Each unit will have a staff non-commissioned officer to act as the alcohol screening program coordinator.

In California, a driver with 0.08 percent blood alcohol is considered drunk, and his or her driver’s license is immediately suspended. A single drink can lead to a positive test of 0.01 percent.

In September, a study by the U.S. Institute of Medicine, sponsored by the Department of Defense, found that binge drinking among military personnel in all branches has increased. In 1998, 35 percent of personnel admitted to binge drinking in the previous year. In 2008, the last year for which statistics were available, that figure had risen to 47 percent.

Noting that “alcohol has long been part of military culture,” the study’s authors, including professors from the University of Southern California and the University of California, San Francisco, called for better leadership from the top of the chain of command in curbing excess drinking. Among the recommendations was “routine screening for excessive alcohol consumption.”

More in Local News

Live in Edmonds? Hate speeders?

Edmonds has $35,000 to address local residents’ concerns about speeding in their… Continue reading

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Police looking for Lynnwood bank robber

The robber did not flash a weapon to the teller at a U.S. Bank.

Employee threats caused lockdown at Arlington elementary

Arlington Police said all students and staff were.

Sirens! Flashing lights! — Move over!

We are a confident bunch on what to do when we hear… Continue reading

Marysville quits fire-department merger talks

Mayor Jon Nehring notified Arlington of the decision in a letter dated Jan. 10.

Everett marchers: ‘There’s too much to protest’ for one sign

About 150 people joined the “March to Impeach” from the waterfront to a county courthouse rally.

Jayme Biendl, 34, was a correctional officer at the Monroe Correctional Complex in Monroe.
In testimony in Olympia, dozens urge abolition of death penalty

But others said it shouldn’t be eliminated without putting it before the voters.

Food stuffs for a local chapter of A Simple Gesture at Fitness Evolution, the communal pick-up point, in Arlington on Jan. 12. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
In it together in Arlington

A new program makes it more convenient to collect items for the food bank.

Most Read