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Study finds more U.S. veterans are binge drinking, drunk driving

Drunk driving accidents involving U.S. military veterans in Kentucky and elsewhere have increased over the last few years, according to a recent study. The study also found that veterans are binge drinking more than in the past.

Researchers from the American Addiction Centers analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and found that binge drinking rates among U.S. veterans increased from approximately 14 percent in 2013 to just under 16 percent in 2017. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks in two hours or less. The largest increase in binge drinking was seen among female veterans, who experienced an increase that was twice that of male veterans.

According to experts, binge drinking is linked to mental and physical health problems. It also is linked to an increase in drunk driving incidents. The AAC study found that the percentage of American veterans involved drunk driving incidents has spiked from 1.6 to 2.5 percent since 2014. The study also found that male veterans were much more likely to get behind the wheel while intoxicated than female veterans. The areas most plagued by drunk driving incidents involving vets are California, Kentucky and Washington, D.C. The places with the lowest rates include Virginia, Alaska and Utah. Almost 3 million troops have served in U.S. military operations since 2001. Of the veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan, somewhere between 11 and 20 percent are believed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. As a result, some vets have turned to alcohol to cope.

Veterans accused of DUI may be able to help their situation by contacting a defense attorney for assistance. In some cases, the attorney may be able to get the charges dismissed. In others, legal counsel might push for a plea deal that significantly reduces the charges.

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