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Drugs, Alcohol, Despair: State Rankings

Government Report Details How States Rank in Substance Use and Mental Health Problems
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

March 6, 2008 -- A new government report shows how states rank in terms of substance use and mental health.

The report covers a wide swath of topics, including underage drinking, cigarette use, illicit drug use, and depression.

The bottom line: "Every state and region must confront these issues," Terry Cline, PhD, says in a news release.

Cline heads the Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which issued the report.

The report is based on 136,110 people aged 12 and older who were interviewed for a national survey in 2005-2006.

Illicit Drugs

North Dakota had the lowest percentage of people who reported using an illicit drug during the previous month (5.7%). Rhode Island had the highest percentage (11.2%).

Marijuana use was reported by 10.4% of participants in 2005-2006. Vermont had the highest rate of marijuana use in the past month (9.7%). Utah had the lowest rate (4.3%).

Cocaine use was reported by 2.4% of participants in 2005-2006. Cocaine rates were highest in Washington, D.C. (4.9%) and lowest in North Dakota (1.6%).

Nonprescription use of painkillers was reported by 5% of participants, up from 4.8% in 2004-2005.

About 2.8% of participants were dependent on or had abused illicit drugs in the past year, the report shows.

Tobacco

About 30% of participants said they had used tobacco during the previous month. And 25% said they had smoked cigarettes during the previous month.

West Virginia had the highest rate of past-month tobacco use (40.6%) and cigarette use (32.5%). Utah had the lowest rate of past-month tobacco use (22.1%) and cigarette use (19.3%).

Among youths, 10.6% reported smoking cigarettes in the previous month, down from 11.3% in 2004-2005.

Alcohol

Utah residents were the least likely to report drinking alcohol in the past month (32.4%). That's nearly half of Wisconsin's rate (63.1%).

Nationwide, binge drinking was most commonly reported by young adults aged 18-25. But binge drinking rates dropped among youths aged 12-17, compared to the previous year's data.

Underage drinking among people aged 12-20 was rarest in Utah (21.5%) and most common in Vermont (38.3%).

Nationwide, 7.7% of people age 12 or older abused or were dependent on alcohol.

Depression, Psychological Distress

Depression rates were lower in 2005-2006 than in 2004-2005, according to the report.

Among adults, 7.3% experienced an episode of major depression in 2005-2006, down from 7.7% the year before.

Major depression struck 8.4% of youths aged 12-17 in 2005-2006, down from 8.9% the year before.

Nevada had the highest rate; 9.4% of adults were depressed. Hawaii had the lowest adult depression rate (5%).

Overall, 11.3% of U.S. adults had serious psychological distress in 2005-2006. Utah had the highest rate (14.4%) and Hawaii had the lowest rate (8.8%) of adults with serious psychological distress.

The full report is posted on SAMSHA's web site.

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