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Binge drinking and drunk driving rates high among veterans

Veterans residing in Virginia who have received a DUI charge should be aware they are not alone. The American Addiction Centers released a study that showed drunk driving has spiked among the U.S. veteran population. Binge drinking was also found to be at an all-time high. The study concluded that post-traumatic stress disorder was a significant contributor to hazardous alcohol use.

Researchers found that average veteran rates of binge drinking have gone up nearly 2 percent between 2013 and 2017. Among female veterans, that number was closer to 3 percent. The percentage of veterans who admitted to drunk driving has increased by nearly 1 percent in the same time period. Most of the veterans who drank and drive were males. However, Virginia was one of the states with the lowest rates of drunk driving among veterans.

The study found that PTSD was largely to blame for the spike in drunk driving. Among the veterans who have returned from war in Iraq or Afghanistan, research shows that between 11 and 20 percent suffer from PTSD. Other studies have shown the number is actually closer to 30 percent. A Department of Defense survey found that nearly a third of active-duty personnel have binge drinking habits, which matches the number of veterans who have PTSD.

In the event of a DUI, an attorney with experience in drunk driving defense may be able to prove that the driver had untreated PTSD. This could reduce the odds of a harsher sentence and increase the chances the driver will be required to go to rehab instead.

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