U.S. Marines Ordered to Take Surprise Breathalyzer Tests

| by Michael Allen

Starting Jan. 1, marines at Camp Pendleton and other bases will be subject to random breathalyzer tests twice a year, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Lt. Gen. R.E. Milstead Jr., deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs, issued an order that says if any marine or sailor with a blood-alcohol level of 0.01% or higher will be referred for counseling. Additionally, any marine or sailor who tests at 0.04% or higher will be referred to medical personnel to determine his or her fitness for duty.

In California, a driver with a 0.08% blood-alcohol level is considered drunk. A single drink can lead to a level of 0.01%.

In September, a study by the Institute of Medicine found that binge drinking, also called "sport drinking," is increasing among military personnel.

In 1998, 35% of military personnel admitted to binge drinking. In 2008, that number had risen to 47%. Twenty percent of military personnel classified themselves as "heavy drinkers."