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Armed Forces (Alcohol Abuse)

Volume 130: debated on Monday 21 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on measures to control alcohol abuse in the armed forces; whether non-alcoholic beers are stored in service bars; what is the ratio of alcoholic to nonalcoholic drinks stocked in service bars; and what is the price differential.

Drunkenness is a specific offence under the service discipline Acts. If service personnel, whilst not committing actual drink related offences, become by regular heavy drinking a risk or burden to their service that is also regarded seriously.A series of alcohol education programmes, making use of pamphlets, films and lectures has been produced to alert all personnel to the dangers of abuse. Where abuse occurs, the aim is to rehabilitate abusers where this is possible. Adequate facilities for medical treatment are available. A range of deterrent administrative and disciplinary actions are also available and persistent offenders may be discharged.Stocking of service bars and the pricing of drinks are matters for mess committees or NAAFI managers and are not centrally directed by the Ministry of Defence, but nonalcoholic or low-alcohol beers and soft drinks would normally be available. The ratio of alcoholic to nonalcoholic drinks would depend on demand.