WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army needs hundreds of additional substance-abuse counselors to meet the increasing number of soldiers seeking alcohol treatment, a top official says.
Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army's No. 2 officer, says as many as 300 more counselors are necessary in order to cut wait times and provide evening and weekend services, USA Today reported Wednesday.
"There's no doubt in my mind that since 2001 and being involved in two wars ... that we probably have a higher incidence of alcohol abuse," Chiarelli said.
Army records released this week indicate 9,199 soldiers enrolled in alcohol treatment in 2009, a 56 percent increase since the Iraq war started in 2003.
Les McFarling, director of the Army Substance Abuse Program, says alcohol remains a much larger problem than drug abuse.
Eight-five percent of the Army's substance-abuse treatment caseload involves alcohol, McFarling says.