Alcohol abuse among armed forces

Paul Wheelhouse, SNP MSP for the South of Scotland, has submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament highlighting the high level of alcohol abuse amongst Scotland’s armed forces personnel and calling for the MoD to do more to help serving military servicemen and women.

After being involved in a number of discussions at the Cross Party Group (CPG) on Armed Forces Veterans Mr Wheelhouse said: “Alcohol misuse amongst our serving and ex-serving armed forces personnel is not an issue which should be taken lightly.

“I was shocked to discover at a cross party group on armed forces veterans meeting that a recent study has shown 13% of respondents to a survey of service personnel claim to struggle with alcohol misuse.

“What is particularly worrying is that alcohol abuse is thought to affect as many as 26% of all those personnel under the age of 25 and binge drinking is significantly higher than among the civilian population.

“This is not just a problem among veterans, as it is often portrayed, but originates among serving personnel, who we must appreciate are often faced with combat stress and severe emotional strain arising from their experiences and bereavement. We regularly see media coverage on what our armed forces are dealing with on a day-to-day basis, and we can all be very proud of their tremendous courage and professionalism in doing this, but I feel it is my duty as an elected representative to campaign to ensure they receive the best possible care they can get when they need it and especially when they have been affected by service in a combat zone.

“The Scottish Government and partner agencies provide excellent care for veterans but the MOD must do more.”