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June 1976

About Alcoholism - Alcoholism Information, Research and Treatment

Diplomats' Occupational Ailment?

Many of these items are contrary to AA philosophy. Their publication here does not mean that the Grapevine endorses or approves them; they are offered solely for your information.

The problem of alcoholism among U.S. employees who serve tours in embassies abroad, interspersed with periods of service at home, is numerically large. Counting only employees of State, AID [Agency for International Development], and USIA [U.S. Information Agency] and their dependents, the Foreign Service roster is about 60,000. Statistically, more than 6,000 of these people are in various stages of alcoholism, and the majority are scattered among the 266 embassies, posts, and consulates around the world.

The State Department, which has general supervisory control of all embassy personnel, recognized the basic problem officially in 1972 by establishing an Alcohol Abuse Program. The program is conducted along the lines developed by Alcoholics Anonymous.

All of the 266 embassies and posts have an alcohol and drug abuse coordinator. The coordinators call on regional medical officers when help is needed. The medical officers are being exposed to AA methods and practice, while State Department nurses attend alcoholic clinics to broaden their ability to recognize and help alcoholic employees and dependents.

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