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Development of alcohol treatment for UK military personnel
  1. Ruth Rushton1 and
  2. K Lynch2
  1. 1 Ministry of Defence, London, UK
  2. 2 Public Health England, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ruth Rushton, Ministry of Defence, London PO1 3LT, UK; Ruth.Rushton101{at}


The consumption of alcohol in the UK Armed Forces (AF) as ‘an agent to assist cohesion and informal operational debriefing’ is a social and psychological conceptualisation that has some empirical support. Indisputable data exist to suggest that high levels of alcohol misuse and related problems are prevalent among UK AF. Recent research indicates that the overall level of hazardous alcohol consumption remains high in the UK military, with little evidence of reduced consumption over time. Meanwhile, risky drinking in the general population appears to be decreasing. This paper describes work to develop a key aspect of an integrated care pathway for UK military personnel at all levels of alcohol risk. The project focuses on the development of an evidence-based treatment response across primary care and mental health services that will link with preventative initiatives. Specialist (ie, substance misuse) input from the Defence Clinical Psychology Service across and within Departments of Community Mental Health lends an overarching perspective to a major healthcare and organisational concern for the UK AF. Work towards a consistent treatment pathway for alcohol misuse is also benefiting from collaboration between the Ministry of Defence and Public Health England.

  • military
  • psychology
  • health
  • alcohol

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.