Officials Report Another Two Active Duty Marines Dead From Suicide in Month of September; Reserve Statistics Unknown

MILITARY: Two Marine Suicides Reported in September

by Mark Walker
North County Times, Oct. 3, 2012

Two active-duty Marines took their own lives in September, the lowest monthly figure for the year since March.

The Marine Corps’ suicide prevention program office said in its monthly statistical report that another 11 of its troops attempted suicide, the fewest of any month in 2012.

So far this year, 41 Marines have committed suicide, surpassing the 32 recorded last year and 37 in 2010.

The Marine Corps recorded 52 suicides in 2009, the highest annual figure it has experienced.

Two female Marines are among this year’s suicides, according to the service’s demographic profile that accompanies its monthly report.

Nineteen of the suicides this year have been among married Marines.
Thirty-two of the 41 self-inflicted deaths were troops between the ages of 17 and 25.

Military officials say post-traumatic stress, substance abuse and family and relationship problems are the primary factors behind troop suicides.

Among its several initiatives to reduce self-inflicted deaths in its ranks, the Marine Corps is conducting a “forensic” study of recent suicides to see what those troops were doing in the days leading up to their deaths.

Officials say that information can help them identify troops at risk and get them help.

The Marine Corps operates a prevention hotline and website that can be reached at 877-476-7734 or

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Veteran Marine From Camp Lejeune Seriously Wounds Wife, Kills Self at Parents’ NC Home

Marine Kills Self, Injures Wife in Bermuda Run Shooting

by Wesley Young
Winston-Salem Journal, Sept. 23, 2012

BERMUDA RUN — Davie County investigators are trying to figure out why a Marine based at Camp Lejeune shot his wife in front of his father’s house in Bermuda Run and then killed himself Sunday morning.

Sarah Browder Harris, 29, was in intensive care at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center on Sunday night. Although she was in critical condition, she is expected to live, said Davie County Sheriff Andy Stokes.

Kirk Walter Harris, 26, of Jacksonville was found dead in the driveway of 675 Riverbend Drive. Harris’ father, Dean Harris, and his wife live at the house, which is in the gated community of Bermuda Run Country Club. They were not home at the time.

Stokes said Kirk and Sarah Harris had returned to Bermuda Run about 1:30 a.m. after an evening out. A woman who was with the couple when they came home witnessed a dispute, authorities said. She left before the shooting, which happened about 5:30 a.m.

Stokes said investigators are still trying to piece together what happened, but the evidence shows Sarah Harris was standing in a yard across the street when her husband, standing in the street, fired a 40-caliber automatic handgun at her.

Sarah Harris was struck twice, in the lower part of her face and the upper part of her chest, Stokes said.

Stokes said Kirk Harris apparently walked about 15 feet into the driveway of his father’s house and shot himself in the head.

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Researchers Discover Rising Substance Abuse Rates in Wartime Military Forces, Inadequate Treatment Programs

Report Faults Military’s Strategies on Drug and Alcohol Abuse

by James Dao
New York Times, Sept. 17, 2012

Despite a well-documented increase in the abuse of alcohol and prescription medications among military personnel over the past decade, the Defense Department’s strategies for screening, treating and preventing those problems remains behind the times, a major new report finds.

“Better care for service members and their families is hampered by inadequate prevention strategies, staffing shortages, lack of coverage for services that are proved to work, and stigma associated with these disorders,” said Charles P. O’Brien, chairman of the panel that wrote the report and the director of the Center for Studies of Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania.

Watch gripping documentary showing struggles of a young soldier trying to adjust at home after war. Following his service in Iraq, Brad begins abusing alcohol and marijuana to cope with emotional turmoil from seeing his friends killed. (A&E)

Watch powerful documentary featuring the deeply personal stories of three Marines fighting effects of PTSD and dangerous addictions to drugs and alcohol. Paul’s effort to attend law school after coming home from heavy combat duty in Iraq gets derailed by anxiety attacks in class, sending him into deep depression and pattern of self medication before getting help through treatment at the VA. (UT San Diego)

The report by the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, asserts that heavy drinking “is an accepted custom” within the military that needs to be regulated more carefully, recommending routine screening for excessive alcohol use.

About 20 percent of active-duty military personnel reported heavy drinking in 2008, the latest year for which data were available, and reports of binge drinking increased to 47 percent in 2008, from 35 percent in 1998, according to the report.

The report noted that while rates of illicit and prescription drug abuse are relatively low, the rate of medication misuse — particularly of opioid pain killers — has risen sharply: 11 percent of active-duty personnel reported misusing prescription drugs in 2008, up from 2 percent in 2002.

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View video of Marines taking part in unit drinking games:


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