Rhode Islanders continue to use marijuana and illicit drugs at the highest rates in the nation, says the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, reports the Providence Journal. In no other state did as many people report having used marijuana in the past month: 14 percent of those age 12 and older, up from 13 percent the previous year. Rhode Island was also tops for those who reported having used marijuana in the previous year: 20 percent, up from 19 percent.
Rhode Islanders led the nation in consuming illegal drugs, excluding marijuana. About 4.3 percent reported having taken them in the month before being surveyed. Rhode Island health officials, continuing to confront what they consider an epidemic of opioid abuse, reported 212 deaths from apparent accidental drug overdoses from January to November, matching the prior year's alarming numbers. The survey “is probably an accurate portrayal, and one we've seen trending for a long time,” said Rebecca Boss, deputy director of the state Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals. “The why is really hard to answer. I don't necessarily have the answers to why.”