New Federal Report Lists Wide State Variations In Drug Abuse

A new federal report shows wide variations among states on behavioral health issues, including illicit drug use. The survey was issued by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adminstration (SAMHSA). As an example, the report said that among people 12 and older, Iowa had less than half the illicit drug use rate of Alaska (5.3 percent vs. 13.5 percent) yet Iowa also was among the top 10 states with the highest levels of people age 12 and older participating in binge drinking (28.6 percent).
Among the report’s findings: Current illicit drug use dropped among adolescents aged 12 to 17 in 17 states between 2002-2003 and 2008-2009 Utah had the lowest rate of current marijuana use (3.6 percent) while Alaska had the highest rate (11.5 percent). All ten states that had the highest rates of past month illicit drug use among persons age 12 or older were also the top 10 states for past month marijuana use: in alphabetical order, Alaska, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The report is based on the combined 2008 and 2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health.

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