The Role of Prevention in Addressing Alcohol Use in the U.S. Military



Prioritizing Equity in Prevention Series:

The Role of Prevention in Addressing Alcohol Use in the U.S. Military

August 22, 2023


Learning Session Description

U.S. military personnel are particularly vulnerable to a number of health disparities due to their occupational stresses, hazards, and environments. These include frequent geographic relocations due to changing duty stations, undergoing deployments, and balancing work-life demands (e.g., supporting their families). Each of these factors contribute to alcohol misuse on their own, and taken together, create a high-risk setting for military personnel. Additionally, concern for potentially career-ending ramifications keep many personnel from seeking treatment or support. Military personnel report binge drinking at higher levels than the U.S. civilian population: in 2018, 34% of active duty personnel binge drank in the past 30 days compared to 27% of U.S. adults age 18 and older. This population also experiences extensive harms, including violence, injury, poor work performance, and potential harm to careers. This Learning Session will discuss the risk and protective factors that contribute to the military alcohol environment, drawing parallels between colleges and the military as institutions with unique opportunities for prevention efforts to promote health equity within this population. Participants will have the opportunity to assess the potential alcohol-related issues specific to the military population in their jurisdiction and develop a plan for collaborating with the military community to address these issues.



In this learning session, participants will:

  • Describe alcohol consumption and harms specific to military personnel
  • Discuss risk and protective factors that contribute to the alcohol environment on and around military installations
  • Determine opportunities for collaboration in the prevention of excessive alcohol consumption among military personnel


Learning Session Recording and Slides



Alicia Sparks, PhD, MPH, is the Chair of the U.S. Alcohol Policy Alliance and a Senior Principal at Synergy Enterprises, where she serves as the Project Director for NIAAA’s APIS contract, as well as SAMHSA’s STOP Act contract. Dr. Sparks served as Project Director for CDC’s alcohol advertising monitoring project, for which she directed a team of researchers in conducting analyses of Nielsen data to determine alcohol industry compliance with self-governed rules on advertising alcohol to youth audiences. She has more than 12 years of experience in alcohol policy research, including designing, implementing, and evaluating studies, programs, and policies. Dr. Sparks has led the development of numerous publications on alcohol policy, including the 2022 Implementing Community-Level Policies to Prevent Alcohol Misuse evidence-based resource guide and the 2016 Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. She has published more than 20 peer-reviewed manuscripts and has presented at more than a dozen conferences. She is co-chair of the Alcohol Policy conference series and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Global Alcohol Policy Conference.



Contact Britany Wiele ([email protected]) if you have additional questions about the content related to this learning session.

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