For the third consecutive year, Alaska had the nation’s highest rate of illegal drug use, says a U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) study reported by USA Today. It found rates of illicit drug use significantly higher than the national average in nine other states – Rhode Island, Vermont, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut – plus Washington, D.C. SAMHSA used data from interviews with 136,100 people 12 and older. Illicit drugs include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, non-medical use of prescriptions, inhalants and hallucinogens.
Some 51.1 percent of Americans reported drinking alcohol in the past month, up from 50.2 percent in the previous study. “We see a clear red flag around alcohol use,” SAMHSA Administrator Terry Cline said. Drug use nationwide dipped slightly from 8.1 percent to 8.02 percent in the previous study, while drug use in Alaska rose from 11.79 percent to 12.16 percent. One in 10 Alaskans said they smoked marijuana. Iowa had the lowest rate of illicit drug use, at 5.88 percent.