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CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Camp Casey soldiers can find out if they have their drinking under control Friday at a free screening offered by the Army Substance Abuse Program.

Area I health promotion coordinator Ken Cobb said the screening helps recognize April as Alcohol Awareness Month. April 7 was National Alcohol Screening Day in the United States, he said, but Casey officials decided to hold the screening from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday.

“We are doing it then because it is a Friday and it is a midmonth payday and we’d like to catch the biggest crowd we can,” Cobb said. “Most people work their [butts] off doing the work and because the military population is young, when people have money in their pockets they want to unwind. When you don’t have your family with you, you may go to one of the clubs and unwind too much.”

Health officials will offer the screening in front of Camp Casey’s main post exchange, or PX. The convenience store next door to the PX is where most people buy liquor at Camp Casey.

“First we want alcohol awareness to be available to everybody. When people go to the PX we are going to offer lots of information,” Cobb said.

The screening involves a short questionnaire, he said.

“We are going to have people from the Army substance abuse program there. By answering a few questions people can get some answers about whether or not they have a problem or may be in line for a problem in the future,” Cobb said.

Alcoholism is a major problem in Area I, he added.

“Unfortunately it is worse than it is in the U.S. Alcohol problems are alive and well in South Korea, particularly here in Area I. The alcohol counselors have more than enough business,” Cobb said.

Many people who come to Korea lack the family, friends or the support they’d have back home, he said.

“People tend to use a little more alcohol, and sometimes people put themselves in a position where they do something stupid,” he said.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.
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